Presidential Disaster Declaration Approved for El Paso, Texas

August 17, 2006

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office announced that a federal disaster declaration for El Paso has been approved by President Bush as a result of recent flooding in the area.

“This disaster declaration means much needed assistance to El Paso is on its way,” Perry said. “Dozens of El Paso-area residents’ homes were severely damaged or destroyed in the flooding, and this action will help them get back on their feet.”

Under the federal Stafford Act, the action makes Texans whose homes and property were destroyed or damaged by flooding eligible to receive individual assistance.

Heavy rains began in El Paso in late July and lasted more than a week. August brought torrential rains that washed out roads and flooded homes.

Individual Assistance programs are provided for losses by individuals and families that are not covered by insurance. Individual Assistance can include financial assistance, temporary housing, tax relief, legal services, crisis counseling and Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

El Paso also is eligible for Public Assistance, which is provided for damages to roads, bridges, water treatment facilities, publicly-owned utilities and other public structures.

Assistance to small businesses also is available through Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.

Other assistance programs that are made available with a Presidential Disaster Declaration include:

–For people who have lost their homes, disaster housing assistance can include funds for repairs, providing temporary housing, rental assistance or reimbursement for hotel/motel lodging costs.
–Other Needs Assistance from the Individual and Households Program is provided for necessary expenses and serious needs not met by insurance, loans or other forms of assistance. Among other things, this assistance can be provided for medical, dental and funeral expenses.
–The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the disaster.
–Crisis counseling is available to anyone in the designated disaster area.
–Disaster Unemployment Assistance is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission and provides benefits for up to 26 weeks after a disaster declaration to persons who lose their jobs due directly to the disaster.
–Public Assistance provides funding for repairing or restoring government facilities. Funds are made available once all other means of funding, including insurance, has been exhausted. Eligible organizations include state agencies and authorities, local governments and Indian tribes or tribal organizations.
–Certain private, non-profit organizations eligible for Public Assistance include educational, utility, medical and emergency groups.

Source: Texas Governor’s Office

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