Federal Disaster Assistance for Texas renters, too

Published 3:27 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019

From staff reports

AUSTIN, Texas – Renters in Texas counties whose homes and property were damaged during Tropical Storm Imelda may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.

Aid is available to residents of Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange and San Jacinto counties, who incurred losses from Sept. 17-23.

There are federal grants that can help pay for temporary housing. These rental grants are for a 30-day period, subject to review until renters’ previous homes are livable or they find another home.

Also, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to help Texas renters repair or replace disaster-damaged personal property, including automobiles.  Loan rates as low as 1.75 percent with terms up to 30 years can be made for eligible losses up to $40,000. Eligible losses include damages to personal property in designated counties that are either uninsured or underinsured, and the survivor has not received compensation from other sources.

Both renters and homeowners may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA) through FEMA. ONA helps survivors with uninsured or underinsured expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster.

Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West announced SBA has approved more than $22 million in federal disaster loans for Texas businesses and residents impacted by Tropical Storm Imelda.

 According to Garfield, SBA has approved $22,032,600 for businesses and residents to help rebuild and recover from this disaster.

“SBA’s disaster assistance employees are committed to helping businesses and residents rebuild as quickly as possible,” said Garfield. 

Businesses and residents in Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange and San Jacinto counties who sustained damages are encouraged to register prior to the Dec. 3, 2019, deadline with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.disasterassistance.gov

“Don’t miss out on any assistance you may be entitled to by not registering for help. You don’t need to wait for your insurance to settle or obtain a contractor’s estimate,” she added.

Other Needs Assistance can be used for:

  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses, as well as assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, communication boards and related equipment, and prescriptions;
  • Replacement or repair of personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, such as room furnishings or appliances, and tools and equipment required by the self-employed for their jobs;
  • A primary vehicle, an approved second vehicle or a modified vehicle damaged by the disaster; and
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.

Eligibility for some ONA grants may be determined at the time of application or in some cases after completing and returning an SBA application.

The first step is to register with FEMA for assistance. To do so:

For additional information about SBA disaster loans, the loan application process, or for help completing the SBA application:

  • Call 800-659-2955; persons that are deaf or hard-of hearing may call (800) 877-8339
  • Email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Visit SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster for information or to apply online.

SBA continues to provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants at the following locations on the days and times indicated. No appointment is necessary.

Business Recovery Center
Orange County Convention and Expo Center
Ball Room #4
11475 Farm-to-Market Road 1442
Orange, TX  77630
Mondays – Fridays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. The SBA can also lend additional funds to help business and residents with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
For small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage. The deadline to apply for economic injury is July 6, 2020.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace their damaged or destroyed primary residence. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.