FEMA Assistance to Rita Victims in Texas Tops $486M

November 7, 2005

The deadline for those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to apply for disaster assistance is now Jan. 11, 2006. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted the extension for all Gulf Coast residents with disaster-related damages or losses. The joint federal, state and local disaster recovery effort continues to pour resources into the affected areas to help rebuild lives and property.

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

* In the six weeks since Hurricane Rita, more than $486 million have been approved for assistance to 248,214 households. In addition, nearly 60,000 Disaster Unemployment Assistance claims have been filed with more than $415,000 disbursed.
* 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 continue to increase and currently stand at 466,635.
* As of close of business Nov. 5, there will be seven fixed Disaster Recovery Centers and five temporary centers open in Texas. To date, nearly 270,000 state residents or temporary evacuees currently residing in Texas have visited the centers to speak with recovery specialists.
* DRC programs and services include 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; and low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover uninsured or underinsured losses to the primary residence and contents.
* 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 for reimbursement 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 4.3 million cubic yards of debris. The total estimate of debris from Hurricane Rita in Texas is 7.2 million cubic yards.
* The USACE raised the estimated need for Blue Roofs from 20,000 to 30,000. More than 14,000 Blue Roofs have been completed out of 22,000 requests received for the heavy duty plastic sheeting patches. Applicants or their representatives can sign Right-of Entry (ROE) consent forms at any of the Corp’s 23 ROE collection centers. For more information, applicants should call 888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258).
* 571 travel trailers have arrived at a staging area in Jasper County. Some 100 are handicap accessible with a wider entrance, handrails and low-step tub entry. As of Nov. 4, about 297 regular units were occupied. Three of the handicap-accessible units have been issued.
* Approximately 7,000,000 meals have been served to people in the hardest hit areas and emergency relief workers.
* Six Hurricane Katrina shelters remain open with a population of 198. One of these shelters houses an additional 51 Hurricane Rita evacuees.
* 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 176,000 inspections have been completed.

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