For victims of Hurricane Harvey who have not yet applied for FEMA assistance, the deadline is this Thursday (it was extended because of the Thanksgiving holiday). To apply, check out DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362. Unsure if you’re eligible? Here’s an explainer from FEMA:
Federal assistance includes help for temporary housing, rental assistance and repair or replacement of damaged homes for eligible individuals and families who have suffered losses as a result of the storm.
Additionally, grants may be available to help with other expenses such as medical and dental care, child care, funeral and burial costs, replacing essential household items, moving and storage, vehicle repairs and some clean-up items.
Renters and homeowners must be in a designated county to qualify for assistance. Those counties include: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Caldwell, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Waller, Walker and Wharton.
FEMA is currently paying $2.8 million per day to house people displaced by Harvey. At the beginning of November, they were still footing the hotel bills of some 70,000 people, though that number had dropped to 47,000 by Thanksgiving. More than 20,000 of those displaced are children. The Houston Chronicle reported that, through mid-November, the FEMA hotel program had cost $186 million.
Governor Greg Abbott and senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz continue to press the Trump administration for additional aid to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the hurricane. On a recent visit to Austin, Vice President Mike Pence said that the federal government has provided $2.2 billion to small businesses across Texas in addition to paying out $4.4 billion under the National Flood Insurance Program, and on his Senate website, Cruz has listed numerous federal agencies offering assistance. But overall, many are concerned that federal assistance will fall short. At the end of October, Abbott said the state will need an additional $61 billion in federal assistance to recover from the storm.