Texans have experienced some of the worst flooding in our country’s history. We’ve seen roads, homes, and neighborhoods destroyed, and we mourn the tragic loss of life in our communities. I continue to pray for everyone who has suffered and lost family or property in this disastrous storm. Read about my top priorities for recovery and rebuilding here.

As recovery continues, please know I am committed to working with our congressional delegation and the Trump Administration to ensure that the Federal government provides all available resources to support our state in this time of need.

Many District 7 residents have lost their homes or suffered flood damage as a result of Harvey. If you are a victim of the recent flooding in Harris County, resources are available to you. As always, should you need assistance with regard to FEMA benefits, please contact my D.C. office at (202) 225-2571. If your home has flooded, please be sure to also report it to the Harris County office of emergency management here
                            


Hotel Stays for Harvey Survivors Extended to MARCH 12, 2018

Eligible Hurricane Harvey survivors receiving Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) may receive an extension to stay temporarily in hotels while they look for an alternative place to live. The new extension is through March 12, 2018.

Disaster survivors with a continuing need for the hotel sheltering program will receive a phone call, email, and/or text message advising them if they have continued eligibility for assistance through a participating hotel. There will be a mid-term eligibility review on Feb. 20, 2018.

FEMA makes payments to participating hotels for the room and any applicable taxes (including non-refundable pet fees – up to the maximum allowable room night charge). Applicants are responsible for all other incidental costs (meals, transportation, etc.). Hotels require a government issued photo ID at time of check-in, survivors must adhere to any hotel check-in requirements and may be required to provide a credit card for incidental expenses.

A household of four or fewer members is authorized one hotel room and a household of five or more will be authorized additional rooms (limit four people per room). One member of each household, 18 years or older, must reside in each room.

Applicants with disabilities or who have access and functional needs should check with hotels to ensure appropriate accommodations are available. Those with pets must check with the hotel to see if the hotel accepts pets.

TSA-eligible applicants must find and book their own hotel rooms. The list of participating hotels is available at DisasterAssistance.gov under the Transitional Shelter Assistance Program link or by calling FEMA at 800-321-3362. For 711 or Video Relay Service, call 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585.

For more information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the Hurricane Harvey disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4332, or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FEMAharvey, the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6, or the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at http://www.dps.texas.gov/dem/.


Repair Program for Harvey Survivors


FEMA’s Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair (DALHR) program provides permanent repairs to homes with significant damage for homeowners who applied for FEMA funding prior to the deadline. FEMA will be responsible for determining eligibility for applicants on a case-by-case basis, prioritizing homeowners who have exhausted all other forms of housing assistance. Harvey survivors without alternative housing options or cost-effective solutions will also be given preference.

Learn More and apply for the program HERE.

   

IMPORTANT DEADLINE

           

Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline for Hurricane Harvey victims (individuals and businesses) to apply for loans for:

  • Economic Injury (Businesses Only): May 25, 2018


FEMA APPEALS PROCESS

           
Survivors must read their determination letters from FEMA carefully to understand the reasons for the decision, and have the right to appeal.

If they decide to appeal, survivors need to do so within 60 days from the date of their determination letter. Applicants can submit additional documentation supporting their appeal by mail or by dropping it off at a Disaster Recovery Center.

All appeals must be filed in writing to FEMA. You should explain why you think the decision is incorrect. When submitting the letter, you should include:

*    Full name

*    Date and place of birth

*    Address of the damaged dwelling

*    FEMA registration number

In addition, the letter must either be 1) notarized and include a copy of a state-issued ID card or 2) include the following statement, "I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct." The applicant must sign the letter.

If someone other than the applicant or the co-applicant writes and submits the letter, there must be a signed statement from the applicant affirming that the person may act on the applicant's behalf. You should keep a copy of the appeal for your records.

Appeal letters must be postmarked or received by fax within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

By mail:

FEMA - Individuals and Households Program National Processing Service Center

P.O.   Box 10055

Hyattsville MD 20782-7055

By fax:

800-827-8112

Attention: FEMA - Individuals and Households Program

For more information on determination letters and appeals, go to go.usa.gov/xnRYy.
            
      
    

In-Person Help at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs)


Although DRCs start opening when registration begins, they continue helping survivors even after the registration period has ended. Applicants who have questions about disaster assistance can visit any Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Texas.

To find DRC locations and hours, go to: fema.gov/DRC.



Navigating the Road to Recovery
           

  • As the holidays approach, survivors working toward recovery understandably feel more stress. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 24/7, 365-day-a-year helpline provides immediate crisis counseling for survivors who are experiencing emotional distress related to a natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Call 800-985-5990, 800-846-8517 (TTY) or text Talk With Us (Spanish-speakers text: Hablanos) to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
  • As survivors in Texas rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, some property owners will face the issue of “substantial damage.” That decision is made at a local government level, generally by a building official or floodplain manager. In general:
  • Hurricane survivors who are staying in hotels under the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program will receive a phone call, email, or text message if they are eligible to stay past Dec. 12. Guests who are unsure of their continued TSA eligibility and check-out date can:

If you DO NOT have flood insurance: visit disasterassistance.gov and register with FEMA.

  • You may be eligible for a FEMA award of up to a MAXIMUM of $33,000 to cover any of the following: Rental Assistance, Lodging Expense Reimbursement, Home Repair Assistance (To help repair an owner-occupied primary residence, utilities, and residential structure) and Home Replacement Assistance.
  • You will likely also qualify for a low interest loan of up to $200,000 from the Small Business Administration. Your application at disasterassistance.gov will provide information on these loans.
  • You may also be eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance which may provide temporary shelter at a qualifying hotel.
  • You may also be eligible for a one time payment of $500 under the Critical Needs Assistance program for critical needs such as fuel, baby formula and clothing. 


Please read this announcement from the U.S. Postal Service regarding mail pick up locations. 

           
What is “Substantial Damage”?

As survivors in Texas rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, some homeowners will face the issue of “substantial damage” to their residences.
That decision is made at a local government level, generally by a building official or floodplain manager. In general:

FEMA does not make a determination of substantial damage and does not notify any owner of a damage determination. This information is important for property owners deciding whether to –or how to– repair or replace a damaged dwelling, and if additional work such as elevating the structure is needed to comply with local codes and ordinances.

For more on substantial damage, go to go.usa.gov/xnR4N. For information on NFIP, visit FloodSmart.gov.


EMERGENCY CONTACTS:

If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency please dial 911.

  • U.S. Coast Guard: Due to the high call volume they are receiving, the Coast Guard has opened multiple telephone lines. Please stay on the line until you reach an operator: 281-464-4851, 281-464-4852, 281-464-4853, 281-464-4854, 281-464-4855
  • Harris County Evacuation Assistance Registration: 2-1-1 (County wide) 3-1-1 (in Houston)
  • Harris County Office of Emergency Management: 713-881-3100
  • Texas Emergency Assistance Hotline: 1-877-541-7905
  • Social Security Administration: 1-800-772-1213
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): 1-800-621-3362 TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • American Red Cross: 1-866-GET-INFO Or 1-866-438-4636
  • Local American Red Cross: 713-526-8300

DISASTER ASSISTANCE:  

FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA) and SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) ASSISTANCE

Recovery specialists from FEMA, the Small Business Administration, the State and other agencies will be at disaster recovery centers to offer in-person support to individuals and businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Katy Mills Mall (Fort Bend County)

5000 Katy Mills Circle

Katy TX 77494

Hours of Operation
Mondays - Saturdays: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sundays: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.


Bayland Community Center (Harris County)

6400 Bissonnet Street

Houston, Texas 77074

Hours of Operation
Mondays - Saturdays: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sundays: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.


Weekly Community Center (Harris County)

8440 Green House Rd.

Cypress, TX 77433

Services: Registration, status update, SBA. Thurs-Sat 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Services: Registration. Mon-Wed 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Closed Sundays

Greenspoint Mall (Harris County)

263 Greenspoint Mall

Houston TX 77060

Hours of Operation
Mondays - Saturdays: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sundays: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.


Although I cannot override the decisions made by a federal agency, I can often intervene on a person's behalf to answer questions, find solutions, or just cut through the red tape. However, regardless of which agency you need help with, I need a completed privacy authorization form to comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act. My D.C. office can be reached at (202) 225-2571 to answer any questions you have.

Individuals

The FEMA Individual Assistance Program may provide financial assistance to you to help you recover from damage sustained by hurricane Harvey. Click here for more information on the program and eligibility. Visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ to apply.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace real estate and personal property. Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ for more information and to apply.

BUSINESS OWNERS

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes as well as private non-profit organizations. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets. Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ for more information and to apply.

Survivors with questions regarding their applications or the appeals process still have several ways to obtain information:

If you have problems navigating the FEMA application process, or you need assistance with any other federal agency, please contact my D.C. office at (202) 225-2571.

Harris County Flood Control District Administers the FEMA Voluntary Home Buyout Program in Harris County. For information on the program, eligibility, and to apply, click here.


BUSINESS RECOVERY CENTERS

The SBA and the Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Center Network have opened Business Recovery Centers to provide a wide range of services to businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends unless otherwise noted. The deadline to apply for economic injury is May 25, 2018.

BRC (Harris County)
University of Houston Small Business Development Center Region Office, Bank of America Building
2302 Fannin St., 3rd floor, Suite 200
Houston TX 77002
Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
          

DISASTER LOAN OUTREACH CENTERS

The SBA has opened Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to meet individually with businesses, homeowners and renters to answer their questions, explain SBA’s disaster loan program, help them complete their applications and close their approved loans.

DLOC Baytown Community Center (Harris County)
2407 Market Street
Baytown, TX 77520
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9 am-6 pm

DLOC St. John Vianney Catholic Church (Harris County)
625 Nottingham Oaks Trail
Houston, TX 77079
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9 am-6 pm

DLOC The Church Without Walls
(Harris County)
5725 Queenston Boulevard
Houston, TX 77084
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9 am-6 pm

TEXAS REBUILDS

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) has launched the informational website "Texas Rebuilds", which is designed for both individuals and local government officials to access information about the disaster assistance housing options available through FEMA. GLO and FEMA have established a partnership to outline the programs and funding mechanisms for the immediate housing needs for the state's initial Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. The website includes information about the disaster asssitance housing options along with links to register with FEMA, how to contact the FEMA hotline and more. 
         

Local government immediate disaster assistance housing options include:

Multi-Family Lease and Repair:

  • Direct assistance to repair or improve existing multi-family housing such as apartments in order to provide more housing for survivors.
  • Properties must be three or more units, with each unit providing complete living facilities for cooking, eating, and sanitation. Hotels, motels, and extended stay hotels are not eligible at this time.

Direct Leasing:

  • Enables local governments to lease a property that typically would not be available to the public, such as corporate lodging.
  • Local government enters into the lease agreement on behalf of individuals or households. Various types of housing properties may be eligible.

Manufactured Housing Options (Mobile Homes and Recreational Vehicles):

  • Direct housing places manufactured housing units on private land or commercial pads.
  • Local permitting may apply.
  • Site must be suitable. Hauling and installation included.
  • An inspection of the site to determine suitability will be scheduled.

Partial Repair and Essential Power for Sheltering (PREPS):

  • PREPS provides minor repairs to homes in locations with limited housing options.
  • For eligible properties that have incurred limited damage displacing individuals from their homes.
  • PREPS provides basic, emergency home repairs - not to include finish work.

Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair

  • Program provides partial repairs to homes with significant damages.
  • Program can include partial repairs to a damaged home where alternative housing is not available or is not cost-effective.
  • FEMA will determine eligibility for permanent housing construction on a case-by-case basis.
  • All other forms of housing assistance must be exhausted before the program can be considered.

To be considered for assistance, individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey must first register at www.DisasterAssistance.gov

SHELTERS:
For shelter, food, clothing, and other emergency assistance, call the Houston American Red Cross at (713) 526-8300 or visit their website.

INSURANCE INFORMATION:

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program has a call center to answer Texas policyholders’ flood insurance questions. Specialists can help with servicing claims, providing general information and offering technical assistance to aid in recovery. To speak with a flood insurance specialist, call 800-621-3362 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Texas Department of Insurance is also available to answer questions at 1-800-252-3439 or by visting their website. 

HARRIS COUNTY RESIDENTIAL DEBRIS AND INSPECTIONS INFORMATION:

Harris County has teams that are working seven days a week to clear debris and assess damages. Fees for storm-related residential home inspections and permits have been waived by the Harris County Commissioners Court. Harris County has established a hotline to answer your questions regarding residential debris, damage assessments, and permitting and inspection questions. You can call them at 713-274-3880 or find additional information here
.
                

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Harris County - For comprehensive information within Harris County visit www.readyharris.org. To report home flooding, the Harris County office of emergency management has set up a website. 

City of Houston –Houston residents should visit the City of Houston recovery website, or dial 3-1-1 for assistance.

Harris County Flood Control District – For the latest information on the state of Harris County’s watersheds, visit the website or to report house flooding call 713-684-4000. 

Harris County Recovery Network –For questions about general disaster recovery resources available to Harris County residents, please call the Community Services Department team at (713) 696-1998, or visit their website.

Houston Airports - Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport remain closed until further notice. For updates on the status of the airports, please check www.fly2houston.com for alerts. United and Southwest have put out advisories detailing options for customers to reschedule their itineraries for travel.  


FEMA VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

  • To volunteer with high water vehicles or boats:

          Call 713-881-3100 and ask for a Fire Marshal

          Contact RAM at volunteers@ramusa.org or 865-579-1530.

  • Anyone wanting to be paid for their services:

         http://www.fema.gov/about-industry-liaison-program   or Google “FEMA Industry”

  • For contractors looking for work, they should be directed to the State of Texas purchasing and contracting office:

         512-463-3034, option 1.

  • Independent drivers/haulers:

         Coyote Broker, https://www.coyote.com/

          877-6-COYOTE   877-626-9683

  • Group drivers/haulers:

          www.GSA.gov

         1-844-GSA-4111   (1-844-472-4111)

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.