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Federal Emergency Management Agency

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Severe Winter Storm Update



ESF 15 - EXTERNAL AFFAIRS                    




Key Messages

  Texas residents and businesses recovering from uninsured or underinsured losses and damage caused by February’s severe winter storms have until May 20 to register for disaster assistance with FEMA and apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-Interest disaster loan.      Texans in the 126 counties* designated for disaster assistance who were affected by February’s severe winter storms and still need help have many resources to support their recovery efforts. Review FEMA’s recovery checklist to ensure you’ve taken all the steps in your federal assistance process.        Since the Feb. 19 federal disaster declaration for the winter storms in Texas, more than $162.4 million in assistance has been approved for survivors in the 126 designated counties*. (Source:, May 11).   Survivors of the February severe winter storms in Texas who apply for disaster assistance from FEMA may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with information on how to apply for a loan. SBA low-interest disaster loans are the primary source of funds for real estate property repairs and replacing contents destroyed during the winter storms.                            Businesses, nonprofits and residents who sustained damage can apply for a loan or call 800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) prior to SBA’s May 20 deadline. SBA has approved more than $126.2 million (May 11) in low-interest loans to help Texans recover. 
  Texas residents whose furnaces, septic systems or wells were damaged by February’s severe winter storms may be eligible for financial assistance under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. If denied assistance, applicants may appeal. For private wells, furnaces, and septic systems, FEMA may provide assistance or reimbursement for the cost of a professional, licensed technician’s estimate of the repair or replacement of these items.   Texas homeowners and renters in the 126 counties* designated for disaster assistance who suffered damage from February’s severe winter storms have until Thursday, May 20, 2021, to register for disaster assistance with FEMA and apply to the SBA.  If it is not possible to register online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY:800-462-7585).
The toll-free phone lines operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT, daily. Those who use a relay 
service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should provide FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.                   Survivors who may have received FEMA disaster funds after February’s winter storms are reminded that it’s important to use the money only for disaster-related expenses. FEMA will send a determination letter with details on what the money is being awarded for and a list of ways the money can be used. Some examples include home repairs and rental assistance.                         

  Renters in the 126 Texas counties* designated for disaster assistance for the severe winter storms may be eligible for help from FEMA and the SBA.                            

Rental assistance may be awarded to those forced from their damaged home; the assistance is to be used for security deposits, rent and the cost of essential utilities. The initial rental award is for two months and may be reviewed for more assistance. 

 Renters may also qualify for FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance(ONA)Program to replace or repair necessary personal property.                   Texans who registered for FEMA assistance after the winter storms may have received a determination letter regarding eligibility. Read the letter carefully. It may not be the final answer. FEMA may simply need extra documents to process your application. Every applicant may appeal and ask FEMA to review your case. Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621- 3362. Reasons why you may be determined ineligible or no decision can be made include:                            Ownership of property not proven
No contact information provided to schedule an inspection. 
  Disaster survivors must be able to provide proof of occupancy that they lived in the disaster- damaged primary residence before the February storms. Examples of documents that can prove occupancy include: a utility bill; a bank or credit card statement; an employer’s statement such as a pay stub; a lease or housing agreement; or a rent receipt. All bills or statements must be dated within three months before the disaster. Other acceptable proof can be a current driver license or state-issued ID card.                         
  FEMA is committed to helping all eligible disaster survivors. That includes U.S. citizens, non- citizen nationals and qualified aliens. If you do not meet the citizenship or immigration status, you can still apply through another adult household member who is a citizen, or through a minor child who was born in the United States and has a Social Security number.                             Resources to help Texans repair and rebuild safer and stronger are online at and Survivors also may call mitigation outreach specialists at 833-336-2487 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday, for help and information on repairing and rebuilding. 
 FEMA and state officials are warning consumers about scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals trying to take advantage of disaster survivors. Report any suspicious activity to FEMA’s Fraud Tip line at 866-223-0814 or Or, contact the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-621-0508 or go online.                    
 FEMA will conduct virtual home inspections for applicants who reported damage from February’s winter storms. Inspectors will call applicants to initiate the inspection, which in many cases can be offered via video streaming using FaceTime or Zoom. FEMA inspectors are trained to assist applicants with downloading and/or signing up for Zoom if necessary.                                                                           Disaster assistance may include monetary awards to help pay for emergency home repairs for disaster-related damage to a primary residence, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses, and other serious disaster-related expenses. For more information about February’s winter storms, visit                   

Federal and State Agency Resources 

 While not all survivors of February’s severe winter storms are eligible for FEMA assistance, there may be other state and federal assistance available.                    

FEMA Online 

 Follow FEMA on social media at FEMA online, on Twitter @FEMA or @FEMAEspanol, on FEMA Facebook page or FEMA Espanol page and at FEMA YouTube channel                   

 Download the FEMA Mobile App which is available for Android and Apple devices.  Get information about FEMA’s Office of Equal Rights External Civil Rights Division. 

      *Designated Counties Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Bosque, Bowie, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Cherokee, Collin, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Deval, Eastland, Ector, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fort Bend, Freestone, Galveston, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzalez, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Howard, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kleberg, Lavaca, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Llano, Lubbock, Medina, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, 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.                                    


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