FEDERAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES
Sept 13th new info:
The USDA has announced that Texans may be eligible for food stamps. Households that would not typically be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), may be eligible. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will begin offering benefits in stages, beginning with an 11 - county area. Assistance must be applied for in person. You will need to apply on certain days depending on the first letter of your last name. In order to be eligible, you must: be from a county that has been declared a federal disaster area; experience a loss of income, destruction of your home, or a disaster related expense; not have been getting regular SNAP assistance; or meet certain income limits.
For Matagorda County residents, with the last name beginning with A-C, can go to their local office beginning Wednesday, September 13, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For Matagorda County residents the HHS local office is located at 1700 Merlin St., Bay City, TX.
The remaining residents will go as follows:
September 14th - D-H
September 15th - I-M
September 16th - N-R
September 17th - S-Z
September 18th and 19th - Anyone
For additional information, please visit hhs.texas.gov. Services, Financial, Disaster Assistance, Disaster SNAPAmerican Red Cross emergency funds:
"Thanks to our generous donors, the American Red Cross will be providing financial assistance to Texas households that were severely impacted by Harvey and need help taking care of emergency needs. Right now, we are in the initial few hours of this effort and are focusing on helping people in emergency shelters."
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA says that those impacted by Hurricane Harvey can start filing for federal assistance now.
Assistance can include temporary housing grants and home repairs, low-cost loans covering uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
For more information call 800-621-3362 or click here.
Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP)
DAIP provides disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners.
DAIP improves survivor access to disaster information and makes applying for disaster assistance easier.
STATE INFORMATION & RESOURCES
A Presidential Disaster Declaration has been declared for 18 counties, including Brazoria and Matagorda. Governor Abbott has also deployed all of the 24,000 troops in the National Guard to assist with the response to Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, the Texas Military Department mobilized nearly 5,400 personnel in support of civil authorities, performing search and rescue via air and ground, and aiding the over 32,000 people in shelters across the state.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management has asked for help spreading the word about how to track friends and family who are Hurricane Harvey evacuees. The Red Cross encourages evacuees to register here and list themselves as “Safe and Well”.
TxDOT is continually updating the Drive Texas website to reflect road conditions throughout Texas. Although the Harvey is no longer threatening Texas, dangerous conditions and road closures remain, and TxDOT discourages travel in affected areas until conditions improve. Remember that it is against the law to drive around barricades at flooded roads. Turn around don't drown!
Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)
Call your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to report property damage. If you need information, have a complaint, or can't locate your agent or company, call TDI's Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439. The Help Line is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is open on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TDI has also provided these useful links:
- My home was damaged by Harvey: A quick guide on filing claims, deadlines, and resources.
- My car was flooded: Answers to common questions if your car is flooded.
- Get help in person: Visit a mobile unit location to get help filing a claim.
- House Bill 1774: The legislation does not change how you file a claim or how your insurer will process your claim.
- Emergency adjusters: Information on the emergency adjuster application process. To apply, complete Parts I, II, and IX of the application. Fingerprints aren’t required. There is a $20 fee.
- Workers' compensation: Information for injured employees, health care providers, and workers’ comp carriers.
Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA)
TWIA is prepared to help policyholders affected by Harvey and would like to provide the following suggestions to help coastal residents recover as quickly as possible.
TWIA policyholders that sustain windstorm damage can file claims by the following methods:
- Call TWIA’s 24-hour Claims Center at 800-788-8247.
- Visit their website. Policyholders will need a policy number to register.
- Contact your agent.
TWIA advises policyholders to concentrate on protecting their property once they return home and a claim has been filed. Make temporary or minor repairs to protect property from further damage. Follow these guidelines:
- Take photos of the damage and keep receipts and records of payment for any temporary repairs.
- Do not begin making permanent repairs until an assigned adjuster or representative has made contact and inspected the property.
- Be wary of out-of-state contractors who show up at your door unexpectedly. Check with the Better Business Bureau for a history of complaints.
- Understand the local windstorm building code requirements for your area and contact the TDI Windstorm Inspections Program to schedule an inspection for applicable repairs.
Texas Fair Plan (TFPA)
TFPA provides essential residential property insurance products and services for eligible Texas policyholders when no one else will.
Policyholders and their agents can report claims 24/7 by calling 877-786-5665 (English) or 866-443-6738 (Spanish). Policyholders and their agents can also report a loss by visiting the TFPA Claims Center and accessing this online form. Each policyholder is assigned a Claims Examiner to guide them through the claims process.
Free Legal Services
When disasters strike, the State Bar of Texas serves as a clearinghouse for disaster response resources for the public and attorneys. The State Bar of Texas offers a free legal and disaster relief resource hotline for Hurricane Harvey survivors.
For more information, visit their website or call 800-504-7030
Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG)
The OAG has activated the Consumer Emergency Team. This office receives consumer complaints relating to any price gouging that citizens encounter. The team also monitors social media regarding this problem. The OAG has three teams of investigators dedicated to handling complaints.
Report price gouging here.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will begin accepting applications for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program. If you lost your job because of Hurricane Harvey, you can apply for unemployment benefits here. Due to potential impacts to mail delivery, TWC encourages you to select direct deposit as your payment method.
Driver License & Vehicle Registration
DPS will waive the $11 fee and provide no-cost replacement DL or ID cards for residents, provided they had a current Texas DL or ID card. Residents living in affected counties are encouraged to bring whatever identity and residency documentation they have in their possession. Eligible cardholders will need to visit a driver license office in person to obtain a free Texas DL or ID replacement.
Please note: Since DPS driver license offices have been impacted by flooding, please check the website prior to visiting an office.
Governor Abbott has ordered the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) to suspend requirements for vehicle titling and registration for the next 45 days in the 58 counties listed in his disaster declaration. Law enforcement will not issue citations for expired registration in affected counties until October 16, 2017.
Free Admission to State Parks for Evacuees
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will waive state park entrance fees to evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Anyone seeking shelter can call the Texas State Parks Reservation line at 512-389-8900 to reserve a space at available parks out of the path of the storm. TPWD recommends evacuees relocate to sites as far north and west as possible. The public can check for park closures on the Texas State Parks alert map on the TPWD website.
State Rep Dennis Bonnen - Capitol office 512-463-0564 or District office at 979-848-1770 -- he and his stafff would be happy to help.
From U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold's office:
FEMA Apply for Assistance
Facts about FEMA Assistance
Facts about FEMA assistance citizenship and eligibility
Quick Reference Claims Checklist
Claims reporting checklist
Basic Tips for filing claims
Small Business Administration help for small businesses
Please call Congressman Blake Farenthold's Victoria office for more info/help: 361-894-6446
Can children of families staying with us as a result of Hurricane Harvey be enrolled in our neighborhood school?
Students displaced by the hurricane are considered homeless and must receive immediate enrollment even without the normally required paperwork (including immunizations).
How will our kids do homework if we have lost everything?
Our teachers and staff members will do everything possible to assure our students have the tools and resources needed for learning. We will work on plans to allow for these extenuating circumstances.
Maintaining Positivity with Your Children - Talking to your kids about what's going on
Are their implications for our student athletes regarding UIL as a result of Hurricane Harvey?
The UIL has made provisions, through a waiver process, for student-athletes displaced by Hurricane Harvey to be eligible for varsity competition. School coaches, with the support of the district athletic department, will work with each student-athlete in this situation.
Where can I get supplies for my family?
The Matagorda County Fairgrounds Multi-purpose building has set up a distribution center where you may get free necessities for your family.
Is there a shelter in Bay City?
Power Church at 3920 Doris Street is serving as a homeless shelter and has free supplies for families -- available through Fri, Sept. 8, 9 am till 5 pm. 979-245-2185