Harvey was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit America, and especially Texas, in decades. While many in the Coastal Bend have found themselves homeless, it’s not impossible to begin again. Assistance is available as storm victims begin to reconstruct buildings, houses, businesses and their lives.
Several volunteer and government groups have offered help, but knowing what is available or how to apply for assistance can be difficult.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, works in conjunction with other U.S. government agencies to provide response to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.
FEMA can help those who suffered severe damage or were displaced from their homes. The main pages for information and to apply are www.disasterassistance.gov or www.fema.gov. FEMA can also be reached at 800-621-3362/TTY or 800-462-7585, 24 hours a day.
FEMA’s top priority is to make sure you are safe. After that, this agency contributes to the search for temporary lodging or housing, food and even medical assistance in cases required by people with special care or children. The agency also helps with financial aid for cleaning and sanitation of the area, and repairing or rebuilding your primary home.
Once you apply, you will receive a code of application and the FEMA personnel will verify the data to corroborate that everything is in correct order. If approved, a check for the estimated losses is sent to help with rebuilding efforts. By accepting the aid claim you are committing to use the money for cleaning, reconstruction and recovery for what was requested.
Documents or photo evidence of damages must be sent to FEMA-Individuals & Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. BOX 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055.
FEMA does not cover damage to secondary homes or small businesses, or property that is insured with a company, but it can help you appeal your claim in case the insurance does not respond or does not cover enough.
This disaster also left hundreds of people out of work. To apply for economic unemployment assistance, visit www.twc.state.tx.us.