My office is always ready and willing to help in the aftermath of disaster; however, please note that we are not ourselves a relief agency. When a natural disaster occurs, my office works with federal, state and local government officials and tries to restore normalcy as fast as possible. My office can assist with federal agencies, answering questions, directing to resources and on-site assistance, and helping to navigate the FEMA process.

FEMA Assistance

3 Ways to File a Claim: 

  1. Online www.disasterassistance.gov 
  2. Telephone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) 
  3. In Person at Disaster Recovery Center. Find nearest one at go.usa.gov/xXczA 

FEMA will reimburse hotel stays for displaced individuals and families. To be eligible, register at http://bit.ly/1SQAUQJ Keep all receipts. Process hotel payments by calling 1-800-621-3362. For more information, visit http://www.femaevachotels.com/ 

Residents living in the following counties are eligible to receive federal funds to help recover from Harvey: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Liberty, Matagorda, Victoria, Wharton, Bee, Goliad, Kleberg, Nueces, San Patricio, and Refugio counties

More information on individual and household assistance can be found here.

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FEMA is not Responding

If you’ve already filed with FEMA and received a registration number, but a FEMA inspector has not contacted you yet, please complete a privacy release form below and return the form to my office ASAP. We will follow up with FEMA for you. For any questions, please contact my office at (281) 446-0242

Privacy Form: http://bit.ly/2gKNnax

The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits federal agencies from releasing your information to congressional offices without your written consent in a Privacy Authorization Form. Please complete this privacy form and return it to one of my District Offices for assistance. Without this form, my office is prohibited from looking into your concerns.

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Water Damage and Insurance Claims

Report Water Damage at www.ReadyHarris.org 

If you have flood insurance, file a claim ASAP. If you do not have flood insurance, notify private insurance anyway. Some storm-related damage may be covered. 
To Do: 

  1. Photograph property before cleaning up and highest point of wall where water reached 
  2. Keep list of serial numbers. Also keep receipts for disaster spending for 3 years 
  3. Remove wet carpet and affected drywall as soon as safely possible (Cut 1 foot above high water line) 
If you need help with this initial work, contact TeamRubiconUSA.com or TexasRescueMap.com/MuckMap Return to Top
Red Cross

For Emergency Assistance, Call 713-526-8300 
http://www.redcross.org/

The American Red Cross is focused on responding to the area’s most severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey. This damage caused significant displacement and has resulted in a clear need for emergency assistance.

Through the generosity of the American public, the American Red Cross is initiating the Immediate Assistance Program. This program provides emergency assistance in the amount of $400.00 to those directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

https://www.disasterverification.com/redcross/Home/Index/1000?utm_source=redcross.org&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=rcoh

Registration for this program will be open through Tuesday, October 10th 2017. Applicants must apply online. 

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Disaster Unemployment Assistance
If you are unable to work because your place of employment has been damaged or destroyed, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. For eligibility requirements and more information, visit https://apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/security/logon.do Return to Top
IRS

Tax relief is available for victims of Harvey (individuals and businesses). You can claim a casualty loss on tax return, including for 2016 tax return. Extension filers have until January 31, 2018 to file. 

401ks and similar employment-sponsored retirement plans can make loans/hardship distributions to victims and members of their families. 

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Social Security Administration

For office closures and benefit payment information, visit ssa.gov/agency/emergency 

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Disaster Recovery Center Locator
The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Locator allows individuals to search for DRCs nearest to their location. DRC Locator also provides additional information about each DRC, such as hours of operation, services offered and driving directions to the DRC. Return to Top
U.S. Customs and Immigration Services
For immigration services (passports, visas, etc.), call 1-800-375-5283 
 
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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Eligible veterans with a VA ID card needing an emergency supply of medications can go to any CVS or HEB pharmacy with a written prescription or active VA prescription bottle to receive a 14-day supply. 

Further assistance is available through the Heritage Health Solutions Veterans Helpline, 1-866 265-0124 

Information regarding VA loans can be found here. 

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Small Business Aid

Business Recovery Centers

The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Center Network announced the opening of a business recovery center in Houston to provide a wide range of services to businesses impacted by Hurricane Harvey that began Aug. 23, 2017.  See below for more information. 

Harris County Business Recovery Center
University of Houston
Small Business Development Center Region Office
2302 Fannin St., Suite 200
Houston, TX  77002
Opens 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 3
Mondays – Fridays, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Loan Information

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Texas businesses and residents as a result of President Trump’s disaster declaration.   Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call (800) 659-2955. 

Deferments for SBA Loans

To further support recovery efforts, the Agency will provide relief to certain borrowers, including SBA Microlenders, with existing 7(a), 504, 7(m) and disaster loans.  Effective immediately, the Agency is providing an automatic 12-month deferment of principal and interest payments for SBA-serviced business and disaster loans that were in “regular servicing” status on August 25, 2017, in those primary counties designated as Federal disaster areas.  

SBA Field Office Status

Affected offices: Houston, Lower Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Corpus Christi Branch, Louisiana

Office Status:

  • Houston – Open for SBA employees (the building is not open to external customers/stakeholders)
  • Corpus Christi Branch Office – Open
  • San Antonio – Open

SBA Resource Partner Status

Women’s Business Centers:

  • Houston WBC- Closed
  • Brownsville WBC- Open normal operating status
  • San Antonio WBC- Open, normal operating status 

Small Business Development Centers:

  • Houston network- Business Recovery Center open starting Sunday 9/3/17.
  • San Antonio network
    • Univ. of Houston at Victoria SBDC (between Corpus Christi & Houston) – Closed
    • Del Mar College SBDC (Corpus Christi) – Closed

 

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FEMA Q & A

The first thing you MUST do is contact FEMA via online, in person, or telephone at 800-621-3362. They are the subject-matter experts and can provide them more specific answers.

Q. I have flood insurance, can I apply for FEMA?
A. Yes

Q. I don’t own my home (lease/rent), can I apply for FEMA?

A. Yes

 

Q. Can I claim a secondary residence?

A. No

 

Q. I have flooded in the past, and applied for FEMA, am I still able to apply?

A. Yes

 

Q. I’ve flooded multiple times in the past, am I eligible for a buyout?

A. The State of Texas and FEMA will work together to determine what homes that are flooded are eligible for buyouts. This process is moving forward right now. I believe that any home that has been flooded 2 times or more in the past 3 years should be eligible. I am working with state and federal partners to ensure that this happens.  This may require legislative changes. I will keep residents of the affected areas up to date on the process as we move forward and please call our office at any time if you have questions on the process. 

Q. What is the maximum amount FEMA can pay out?

A. $33,300 is the maximum amount for a FEMA grant, but VERY FEW homes receive this amount. The average is usually around $3,000-8,000. Encourage everyone to save receipts, take photos, and document everything.

 

Q. How long does the process take?

A. It varies for each person. The first thing you need to do is file a claim with FEMA online, by phone, or in person at a Disaster Recovery Center. There are NO paper applications. Once you apply, a FEMA inspector will reach out to them within 2-3 days to schedule an inspection. Once the inspection is complete, you will receive a letter from FEMA approving or denying their claim. If you claim is denied, they have 60 days to appeal the decision.

 

Q. How soon will I receive funds from FEMA?

A. It varies, if a person has flood insurance, the insurance company will provide initial assistance. The homeowner will receive a letter from their insurance provider, which they will need to share with FEMA when applying for additional assistance. Individuals may be directed to SBA for a loan for additional assistance. Individuals should be prepared with their direct deposit information (bank account and routing numbers) when speaking with FEMA.

 

Q. Are FEMA inspectors already on the ground locally?

A. Yes. All FEMA inspectors will wear a FEMA badge. They are all equipped with an IPad that can upload photos of damages directly to FEMA. They do not charge for their services. Please report anyone charging for inspections to 866-720-5721 or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

 

Q. If I am in a hotel or lease a short-term, temporary apartment am I eligible for a reimbursement?

A. Yes, some may be eligible for reimbursement. Update your address with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362.In some cases, storage is reimbursed by FEMA. You will need to show your receipts and documentation.

Q. Do you have to be a citizen to apply for FEMA?

A. You have to be a citizen or a legal permanent resident with an alien number to apply for FEMA. If you are not, but a member of your household (child) is a citizen, you can apply under their name and social.

 

Q. Where do non-profit organizations (churches) apply? FEMA or SBA?

A. Non-profit organizations file with SBA, they have a 2.5% interest rate. This does depend on credit scores.

Q. Where do I apply for SBA loans?

A. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela is the website for filing electronically, you can call (800) 659-2955 for loan specific questions.

 

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Assistance for Mucking and Gutting
For individuals needing assistance to “muck and gut” their homes, please call 1-844-965-1386 (toll free). For groups wanting to volunteer to “muck and gut”, sign up at www.crisiscleanup.org  
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