FEMA Approves More than $465M for Rita Victims in Texas

October 31, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $465 million in disaster assistance for individuals and families in Texas affected by Hurricane Rita. The joint federal, state and local disaster recovery effort continues to pour resources into the affected areas to help rebuild lives and property through the Individual Assistance Program.

A snapshot of other disaster aid in Texas in response to Hurricane Rita:

* In the five weeks since Hurricane Rita, $465 million in disaster assistance has been approved to 235,920 households. In addition, $53,172 has been disbursed for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
* To register or update information, applicants should call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing- and speech-impaired. The lines remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Registrations, which currently stand at 458,469, continue to climb about 10,000 per day
* Seven fixed Disaster Recovery Centers are currently open as well as 14 temporary Disaster Recovery Centers. At close of business October 28, five temporary locations will close in the following counties: Hardin, Tyler and Jefferson (3). On Monday, a new fixed location will open in Beaumont. To date, nearly 240,000 state residents or temporary evacuees currently residing in Texas have visited the centers to speak with recovery specialists about programs and services that include the following:
– Grants to help pay for temporary housing, minor home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance and other sources.
– Referrals to crisis counseling, free legal aid and Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
– Low-Interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover uninsured or underinsured losses to the primary residence and contents.
* Even if applicants are not interested in a loan from the SBA, the SBA loan application must be completed and returned. Individuals who do not qualify for SBA loans may be referred to other disaster assistance programs.
* Applicants may qualify for Other Needs Assistance. These state-administered grants help homeowners and renters with serious needs and necessary expenses caused by the disaster and may be used to help pay for:
– Disaster-related medical and dental costs
– Household items and clothing
– School supplies and tools required for an applicant’s job
– Items used to get applicants back in their damaged homes, such as a generator, chainsaw, air purifier, humidifier or dehumidifier. These cleanup items are eligible if they were purchased between Sept. 22 and Oct. 21, 2005. Applicants should save receipts.
* The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and counties have hauled away an estimated 3.6 million cubic yards of debris. The total estimate of debris from Hurricane Rita in Texas is 7.2 million cubic yards.
* The USACE also has processed 14,581 requests for Blue Roofs (heavy duty plastic sheeting to patch damaged roofs) and installed more than 9,600 in Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Newton, Orange and Tyler counties. For more information, applicants should call 888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258).
* In mid-October, travel trailers arrived at a staging area in Jasper County. To date, 127 units are occupied at residential locations. More than 2,200 requests for units have been received.
* Approximately 7,000,000 meals have been served to people in the hardest hit areas and emergency relief workers.
* Nearly 1,000 housing inspectors are in the field conducting inspections of damaged property in the hardest hit areas to verify losses of those residents who have filed applications. More than 115,000 inspections have been completed.

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