On Feb. 19, the White House approved a major disaster declaration for 77 counties that were hardest hit by the severe winter storms beginning on Feb. 11. Since then, President Joe Biden added 49 additional counties to the disaster declaration, bringing the total to 126 at the time of publication. Grants approved under the declaration currently stand at more than $16.5 million in Housing and Other Needs assistance.
The declaration allows individuals to apply for temporary housing and home repair grants; low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses; and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the storm that left at least 20 Texans dead. Federal funding is also available to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation statewide. The estimated economic impact statewide, including damage to homes, businesses, personal property, job and wage losses and infrastructure damage could exceed $50 billion.
The following counties are currently included in the declaration (a map is available here):
Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Cherokee, Collin, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fort Bend, Freestone, Galveston, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzalez, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hill, Hidalgo, Hood, Houston, Howard, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kleberg, Lavaca, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Llano, Lubbock, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Medina, Milam, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Robertson, Rockwall, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Taylor, Tom Green, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Wichita, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Wise and Wood.
Individuals who have insurance and are applying for disaster assistance must also file a claim with their insurance company as soon as possible. By law, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. Please click here to apply online, or call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week.
FEMA will be providing the most up-to-date information, rumor control, grant application assistance and links to other helpful federal and state sites on the official Texas Severe Winter Storms (DR-4586-TX) webpage, located here.
TAC will be working with our partners at the National Association of Counties to monitor any additional federal aid that Congress may consider.
For more information about this article, please contact Austin McCarty.