Texas Individual Assistance for Rita Tops Half-Billion Mark

November 10, 2005

More than one-half billion dollars of individual assistance has been provided to Texans affected by Hurricane Rita since a federal disaster declaration was issued on Sept. 24, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

To date, 216,177 individuals and families have received a share of $502 million in FEMA assistance, which is broken into two categories: Housing Assistance (HA) and Other Needs Assistance (ONA). This figure far exceeds the Individual Assistance (IA) FEMA has given to Texas for disasters in the past 10 years, which is $278 million in total, and which includes Tropical Storms Allison and Charley, flooding in Central Texas and the Space Shuttle Columbia.

The total HA provided so far is $461 million. HA is provided when an applicant’s home is destroyed or damaged so badly that it cannot be lived in and there is no insurance to meet the need for housing.

The ONA provided so far totals $39.9 million. ONA grants help homeowners and renters with serious needs and necessary expenses caused by the disaster. Grants may help pay for:

* Disaster-related medical and dental costs
* Household items and clothing
* School supplies and tools required for your job
* Items used to get you back in your damaged home, such as generators, chainsaws, air purifiers and humidifiers or dehumidifiers

The total of Public Assistance (PA) and IA to date has climbed to more than $540 million.

Public Assistance (PA) approved for Rita so far is $40 million for infrastructure costs, such as the restoration of power poles and emergency protective measures needed to respond to the storm, and debris removal.

Texas has received $788,950 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance for individuals out of work as a result of Rita, and who were not covered by regular unemployment assistance.

Mission assignments, which are disaster responses performed for FEMA by another federal agency or entity, total more than $619 million and provide immediate emergency response services to preserve life and health, including the distribution of water, ice, meals ready-to-eat (MREs), and debris removal.

Other Highlights Include:

* To date, 469,834 Texas residents registered with FEMA for assistance by calling either the toll-free number 800-621-FEMA (3362), the number for the hearing- or speech-impaired, TTY 800-462-7585, or by going online at www.fema.gov.

* An estimated 266,675 individuals sought services at State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). DRCs are located in Austin, Beaumont, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Galveston, Houston, San Antonio and Tyler.

* More than 350 families now reside in interim housing facilities, including travel trailers located in 11 Texas counties, on both commercial and private property. Efforts continue to secure temporary housing for approximately 650 families, which have been identified as potential interim housing candidates.

* To date, FEMA has allocated close to $4 million for crisis counseling services.

* More than 4.5 million cubic yards of storm-related debris has been collected statewide out of a total estimated 8,185,387 million cubic yards.

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