AUSTIN, Texas – Renters in Texas counties whose homes and property were damaged during Tropical Storm Imelda may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.
Aid is available to residents of Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange and San Jacinto counties, who incurred losses from Sept. 17-23.
There are federal grants that can help pay for temporary housing. These rental grants are for a 30-day period, subject to review until renters' previous homes are livable or they find another home.
Also, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to help Texas renters repair or replace disaster-damaged personal property, including automobiles. Loan rates as low as 1.75 percent with terms up to 30 years can be made for eligible losses up to $40,000. Eligible losses include damages to personal property in designated counties that are either uninsured or underinsured, and the survivor has not received compensation from other sources.
Both renters and homeowners may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA) through FEMA. ONA helps survivors with uninsured or underinsured expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster.
Other Needs Assistance can be used for:
- Disaster-related medical and dental expenses, as well as assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, communication boards and related equipment, and prescriptions;
- Replacement or repair of personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, such as room furnishings or appliances, and tools and equipment required by the self-employed for their jobs;
- A primary vehicle, an approved second vehicle or a modified vehicle damaged by the disaster; and
- Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.
Eligibility for some ONA grants may be determined at the time of application or in some cases after completing and returning an SBA application.
The first step is to register with FEMA for assistance. To do so:
- Go to www.disasterassistance.gov or
- Call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY).
For additional information about SBA disaster loans, the loan application process, or for help completing the SBA application:
- Call 800-659-2955; persons that are deaf or hard-of hearing may call (800) 877-8339
Visit SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster for information or to apply online.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has faced discrimination, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362, voice/VP/711. Multilingual operators are available. TTY users may call 800-462-7585.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. TTY users may also call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit SBA at www.SBA.gov/disaster .