Following the issuance of a federal disaster declaration signed May 17, individual assistance is now available for people affected by the series of severe storms which moved through the Houston region.

The big picture

Signed by President Joe Biden, the federal disaster declaration allows individuals to apply for financial assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This applies to those who experienced damage from severe storms starting on April 26 through the severe weather and straight-line winds which occurred May 16.

While the state disaster declaration encompassed 91 counties, the federal disaster declaration is only for the following counties:
  • Harris
  • Liberty
  • Montgomery
  • Polk
  • San Jacinto
  • Trinity
  • Walker
The specifics

According to a news release from FEMA, the individual assistance is for renters and homeowners who experienced damage as a result of any of the flooding or storm winds. The programs available include grants for:
  • Temporary housing
  • Home repairs
  • Low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses
  • Serious Needs Assistance (a one-time $750 payment per household)
In order to receive assistance, individuals must file a FEMA claim through one of three ways:
  • File a claim online at
  • File through the FEMA App for mobile devices.
  • Call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 between 6 a.m and 10 p.m..
Once a claim is filed, FEMA agents will review the claim and determine if an inspection is needed to verify damage before issuing any assistance programs.

Business owners must file a disaster assistance claim with the Small Business Administration for any damages.

Next steps

Disaster recovery efforts are still underway, according to state and local officials, with debris clean up expected to begin this week for the Houston region. Cooling centers are also available to the public as the warm weather moves into the area.

Stay tuned to Community Impact for additional updates on aid for those affected by the storms.