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Last week, millions of Texans faced extreme winter weathers and days without power or running water. However, we also saw incredible kindness to our fellow neighbors, including taking in strangers without power and delivering food and supplies to those in need. I am working hard to make sure our local governments, non-profits, and residents have the resources to help with recovery efforts.
Our community is strong, and we will rebuild together.
President Biden partially approved Texas’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration. This important first step will allow the federal government to deliver more funding and resources to the region.
As we begin to rebuild, I want to make sure you have information to help navigate your families’ recovery efforts. Please review the details below and, as always, reach out to my office if you need assistance.
Texas homeowners and renters in 77 counties designated for individual assistance who sustained damage may now apply for disaster assistance with FEMA. You can register for FEMA Assistance by visiting http://disasterassistance.gov or calling 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week.
When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:
A current phone number where you can be contacted;
Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
Your Social Security number, if available;
A general list of damage and losses;
If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name.
If you are in one of the 177 counties not currently declared a disaster, please report your damages to http://TDEM.Texas.gov/warm. TDEM is providing damage totals to FEMA to determine if assistance is required for additional counties.
If it is safe to do so, start cleaning up now to prevent further damage. Make sure to take photos to document damages and keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.
Disaster assistance may include financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
FEMA does not reimburse for food lost due to a power failure. Voluntary organizations in your communities may be able to assist. Residents are encouraged to call 211 for assistance.
Texas Department of Insurance
If your home was damaged due to a broken water pipe, downed tree limbs, or other winter damage, contact your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible. Following these tips will help make the process go smoother:
Keep a record of everyone you spoke with at the insurance company;
Ask about an advance payment if you need support quickly;
Inquire about living expenses. Some policies will cover some of the costs if you are unable to live in your home because of covered damage;
Make sure you keep receipts for any costs you pay out-of-pocket.
TDI can provide contact information for your insurance company or help with questions about how to file a claim. Call the Help Line from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday to Friday: 800-252-3439.
Small Business Loans
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to businesses, homeowners and renters. Call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.