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FEMA aid for Texas

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AUSTIN, Texas - State and federal emergency management officials have three important messages for renters who lost their homes or personal property as a result of the recent wildfires: Register, register, register! 

Help from the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available to eligible Texans in 16 counties who lived in apartments or other rental units before the wildfires - but they must first register with FEMA.

"FEMA wants to ensure that all eligible survivors, regardless of whether they rent or own their home, get the assistance they need to recover from this disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes.

Through Housing Assistance, FEMA offers two kinds of help to eligible renters:

  • Money to rent a different place to live for a limited period of time while repairs are done to a home that was made unlivable by the disaster; 
  • A free referral service to find a safe replacement rental property. 

Both renters and homeowners may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA), designed to help survivors with uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. ONA grants can be used for:

  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses;
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses;
  • Replacement or repair of necessary personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, household items such as room furnishings or appliances, and tools and equipment required by the self-employed for their jobs, and;
  • Primary vehicles and approved second vehicles damaged by the disaster.

Wildfire survivors in Bastrop, Cass, Colorado, Gregg, Grimes, Harrison, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Smith, Travis, Walker, Waller, Williamson and Upshur counties can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA's toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Assistants are available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.


For more information about wildfire disaster recovery, Texans can follow FEMA tweets at www.twitter.com/femaregion6. Other online resources are http://blog.fema.gov, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.

Released by FEMA:


AUSTIN, Texas -- Wildfire survivors in Cass and Marion counties can now register for federal and state disaster assistance, as those two counties were added Monday to a Sept. 9 major disaster declaration. Thirteen Texas counties are now designated for assistance under the declaration, said officials with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The decision follows a state request submitted Friday to make state and federal Individual Assistance available to eligible homeowners, renters and business owners in Cass and Marion.

"We're pleased to be able to provide assistance to these Texans so they can also begin to recover from the terrible fires," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. "Survivors in Cass and Marion, as well as in the previously designated 11 counties, should register with FEMA as soon as possible," he said.

Those counties are Bastrop, Colorado, Gregg, Grimes, Houston, Leon, Montgomery, Travis, Walker, Waller and Williamson.

Disaster assistance for eligible individuals may include:

•Grants to help pay for temporary housing and home repairs to make a home habitable

•Grants for serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance

•Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance.

Survivors can register for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via smart phone at m.fema.gov or by also calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Preliminary Damage Assessments in other Texas counties continue, and additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of the damage assessments.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation




  • RUMOR: There's no easy way to get true, reliable info about FEMA's disaster aid programs.

FACT: Straight answers and plain facts are available from the disaster aid program experts on FEMA's Help Line. Call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA); TTY 1-800-462-7585 to learn about aid programs and to register for disaster aid. You can talk with multilingual experts every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.


  • RUMOR: It's hard to register for FEMA disaster assistance.

FACT: There are three ways to register for disaster assistance. Call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA); TTY 1-800-462-7585; online, visit www.disasterassistance.gov or go to m.fema.gov via web-enabled phone.  Texans who live in Bastrop, Cass, Colorado, Gregg, Grimes, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Travis, Waller, Walker and Williamson counties are urged to register for FEMA assistance as soon as possible. 


  • RUMOR: It takes a long time for disaster aid to reach survivors.

FACT: Just 12 days after the president issued a major disaster declaration for wildfires in Bastrop County, more than $5 million in FEMA disaster grants is headed to eligible survivors - and more is expected. Since the declaration, 12 more counties have been added.


  • RUMOR: Survivors can't register for FEMA assistance if they have insurance.

FACT: Survivors may be eligible for FEMA disaster aid for their uninsured and underinsured losses and damage.


  • RUMOR: Renters can't get FEMA aid.

FACT: Renters whose homes were made unlivable by a disaster may be eligible for FEMA disaster grants, including rental assistance and other disaster-related needs. 


  • RUMOR: FEMA is handing out hotel vouchers for people evacuated because of the wildfires.

FACT: FEMA does not offer hotel vouchers to survivors; FEMA offers a temporary housing program where it pays hotels that are housing people displaced from their homes by the disaster. 


  • RUMOR: It takes weeks before a FEMA inspector visits.

FACT: On this recovery operation, it is taking only two to three days for an inspector to call and schedule a property inspection.


  • RUMOR: Only businesses can get low-interest disaster loans from SBA.

  • FACT: SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes (including landlords) and private nonprofit organizations for disaster damages not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.


  • RUMOR: Immigrants do not qualify for federal assistance.

FACT: It's true that applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien to be eligible for FEMA grants. However, aid may be available if someone registers on behalf of a child in the home who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.


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