Following a presidential declaration of disaster Oct. 4, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said disaster assistance funding is now available for individuals affected by Tropical Storm Imelda.
Those eligible to apply for assistance include homeowners, certain types of renters and business owners in Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery and Orange counties. Individual assistance includes up to $35,500 per household to cover damages from the storm, according to a press release from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office. The aid application process will be open through Dec. 3, 2019.
In a statement, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo urged anyone who needs help to begin applying right away.
“The destructive impact of Tropical Storm Imelda continues to weigh heavily on far too many of our residents,” Hidalgo said. “Survivors deserve to have every resource available, and we will not stop fighting to help our communities make this recovery as quick and effective as possible.”
Those in need of assistance can enter their addresses at www.disasterassistance.gov to find out what types of funding are available to them. Individuals can also call FEMA’s disaster assistance registration phone line at 800-621-3362.
An application may require an on-site FEMA inspection, in which case the applicant will be contacted by FEMA within 10 days of submitting an application to schedule an appointment, according to Ready Harris. FEMA assistance cannot duplicate assistance received from an insurance company, and applicants must submit an insurance settlement or denial for any insured damages before a FEMA home inspection can be scheduled.
As Imelda survivors continue with cleanup efforts, FEMA officials have said to document all damage with photographs, to keep all receipts and to contact insurance agents to begin the insurance process.
Businesses of all sizes, including private nonprofits, can also borrow up to $2 million in low-interest federal disaster loans, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Loans can be used to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets as well as to pay for improvements to prevent future damage.
Estimates from the city of Houston and Harris County suggest as many as 2,500 homes across Harris County along were affected by flooding during Imelda. Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the creation of the Imelda Assistance Fund on Sept. 23 to raise additional money for those affected by the storm.