AUSTIN, Texas - An initiative launched by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the state of Texas is aimed at finding additional disaster assistance for West, Texas residents affected by the April 17 explosion.
Under the initiative, all 764 applicants who have registered with FEMA will be receiving follow-up phone calls from FEMA outreach liaisons. The 100 percent review is designed to identify any unmet needs and work with survivors to provide any additional assistance they may be eligible to receive.
FEMA’s Outreach specialists are helping applicants with the appeal process, explaining letters they may have received from FEMA, assisting applicants with gathering insurance documentation needed for their claims and providing referrals to local voluntary agencies, long term recovery resources within the community, other state agencies and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for low-interest disaster loans.
So far, outreach specialists have reached more than 567 applicants and will continue to call each survivor until all applicants have been contacted.
“The recovery process is stressful for those who suffered great losses, and we want to make sure all survivors get the maximum assistance they are eligible to receive,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “Our proactive approach will continue until every registered applicant in McLennan County has been contacted.”
Since the fertilizer plant explosion, the state of Texas, FEMA and the SBA have approved more than $6.5 million in federal disaster assistance grants and low-interest disaster loans for eligible individuals and families in McLennan County. The grants are for temporary housing, home repair and reconstruction, and for other needs, including personal property replacement or disaster-related medical and dental expenses. This total also includes more than $5.86 million in low-interest disaster loans approved from the SBA. These 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.
West survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA if they have not already done so. Residents can register now at www.disasterassistance.gov, via smartphone at m.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services may call 1-800-621-3362. Phone lines operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The registration deadline for FEMA assistance is June 18.
SBA’s Disaster Assistance will continue to be available beyond June 18. The filing deadline to return SBA applications for property damage is July 1, 2013. The deadline to return economic injury applications is February 3, 2014.
For more information about low-interest disaster loans, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659 2955, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877 8339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.