AUSTIN, Texas. – In just over a month since the emergency disaster declaration for the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have approved more than $5.6 million in disaster assistance or low-interest loans for survivors.
This total includes more than $694,000 in Housing and Other Needs Assistance and Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) from the state of Texas and FEMA. The SBA has approved more than $4.91 million in low-interest disaster assistance loans for 59 disaster-impacted residents and businesses. SBA federal disaster loans help pay for residential and business property losses as well as disaster working capital needs for eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
“We are all working together to get the disaster assistance where it needs to be — in the hands of survivors,” said the Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “Survivors are taking advantage of low-interest disaster loans. We will continue to coordinate with and support our federal, state and local partners as the residents of West work to rebuild and recover.”
To date, 742 individuals and families have registered for assistance. More than 900 residents have taken advantage of services provided by the Disaster Recovery Center in West and TSA has provided funding for 359 nights at hotels in West and nearby communities to provide eligible residents with a safe place to stay.
Anyone still needing to register with FEMA is encouraged to do so by going online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers continue to operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. FEMA encourages residents to register if they have not already done so. The registration deadline is June 18.
Housing Assistance includes temporary housing, rental assistance and home repairs while Other Needs Assistance (ONA) can be used to repair or replace personal property, moving and storage expenses and transportation costs. ONA also can be used for disaster related medical, dental, funeral and burial expenses. TSA helped survivors stay temporarily in hotels when their homes were severely damaged or destroyed from the explosion.
Registering with FEMA is critical for assistance. Often residents who believe they have complete insurance coverage find they have a substantial shortfall and need additional financial help. That’s where a disaster assistance loan from the SBA can help. An SBA loan can cover costs that aren’t fully covered by a homeowner’s insurance policies. Applicants don’t need to wait for an insurance settlement before filing an SBA application. SBA can lend the full amount of damages (up to SBA lending limits) even before insurance recoveries are received. Then, insurance funds can be used to reduce the balance of an SBA disaster loan.
Low-interest SBA disaster assistance loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster. Loans for as much as $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for as much as $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.