How to apply for aid if you’ve been affected by the winter storms in and around Texas
The devastating cold snap in and around Texas last week has had major effects: On Saturday, President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in the state, and AccuWeather estimates the overall value of the damages could approach $50 billion.
Individuals and households who have been affected by surging electrical prices, burst pipes, or other damages as a result of the disaster are eligible to apply for aid from the government as well as from mutual aid funds.
To help untangle the various websites and applications you’ll need to sift through to apply for aid, we’ve rounded up the key details below.
FEMA, the government’s emergency management arm, is offering aid to residents in 77 hard-hit Texas counties
In order to receive aid, you can apply on FEMA’s website. In order to apply for FEMA aid for damages, you must first submit an insurance claim. Thus far, FEMA’s website states that $467,045 in damages has been allotted to individuals and households in total, and 135 individual applications have been approved. FEMA also notes that it cannot reimburse for the value of food lost due to outages.
FEMA assistance applications are open within 60 days of the disaster declaration on February 19. LoneStar Legal Aid, a Texas legal organization, reports that FEMA can help with rent, damaged items, or home repairs. If you’re uninsured, FEMA says, the best way to get relief is through visiting DisasterAssistance.gov. After filling out the Disaster Survivor Application Checklist and completing an online application, the agency will review it and decide if you’re eligible for aid.
The US Department of Agriculture is offering some relief to farmers affected by the storms
Texas’ citrus crop, in particular, is suffering as a result of the deep freeze, AccuWeather reported Friday. With accurate records, farmers can be partially reimbursed for the loss of livestock, fish, or crops. Read more about the US Department of Agriculture’s relief offerings here.
The USA Small Business Administration is also offering low-interest loans to small businesses in areas where a disaster has been declared
More information about the process is available on the administration’s website. The SBA, the website states, helps “eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster.” It also offers home/personal property loans and more.
Mutual aid groups are another way to get help
One group distributing funds is North Texas Mutual aid, which allows people in need to get in touch via a form on its website. Many mutual aid groups have received overwhelming donations and applications and are temporarily putting their applications for aid on pause, including Bread of Life, Inc, and the Texas NAACP. Check back on their websites in the coming weeks to see if there’s a second round of relief applications, or search for mutual aid groups that are located in your community.
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