Harvey Survivors Must Apply by Nov. 24 for Federal Assistance



Hurricane Harvey survivors have until Friday, Nov.24, to register for federal assistance.

To be considered for eligibility for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) short-term housing programs, homeowners and renters must first register through one of the choices listed below:

•   Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

   FEMA mobile app, available at www.fema.gov/mobile-app.

   Phone (800) 621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service) 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central daily, TTY (800) 462-7585.

   At a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Find your nearest DRC at www.fema.gov/drc.

Consideration for short-term housing is given to those needing temporary housing for a period of up to 18 months from the start of the disaster to Feb. 25, 2019.

Owners must receive a determination by FEMA that their permanent residence has at least $17,000 of FEMA verified damage.

Renters must receive a determination by FEMA that their property has sustained major damage or has been destroyed.

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) in coordination with FEMA will manage all housing-related recovery efforts, from short-term housing assistance repairs to the long-term rebuilding to come. The GLO, in partnership with the Councils of Government (COGs), will work with eligible individuals from affected regions to identify which programs they are eligible for and help those select the program that best addresses their needs.

Once FEMA provides eligible applicant information, and the programs they qualify for, to the GLO, the state will work with local government leaders to contact applicants and identify the best program to meet each individual’s needs to provide a short term housing solution.

FEMA’s direct housing authority provides short-term housing while individuals work to identify their permanent housing plan. GLO or COG re-evaluates applicant eligibility on a periodic basis, usually monthly, and the short-term housing assistance eligibility for the entire period is subject to continuing to meet requirements.


Have you been hearing from constituents saying their initial FEMA application was denied? There are several reasons why an application might be denied. Here are some of the common reasons applications might be denied:

•   Information is incorrect or application is incomplete.

•   Damage is not to the primary residence.

•   Another household claim is already in existence.

•   Disaster-related losses cannot be verified.

•   Losses have been covered by insurance.

Applicants can appeal this determination. See FEMA Determination Letters: How to File an Appeal for more information.


Direct Leasing (DL):

•   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.

•   100 percent federally funded.

Multi-Family Lease and Repair (MFLR):

•    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.

•    100 percent federally funded.

Manufactured Housing Units (MHU):

Mobile Homes and Recreational Vehicles:

Temporary manufactured housing on private land or commercial pads

•    Direct housing places manufactured units on private land or commercial pads.

•    Site must be suitable. Hauling and installation by local entities involved.

•    An inspection of the site to determine suitability will be scheduled.

•    100 percent federally funded.

Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair (DALHR):

•    DALHR provides permanent repairs to homes with damage ranging between $17,000 to less than 50 percent of the home’s value prior to the storm.

Program can include permanent repairs to a survivor’s home where alternative housing is not available or is not cost-effective.

•    FEMA will determine eligibility for permanent housing construction DALHR on a case-by-case basis.

•    Providing direct repairs will be substantially faster and more cost effective.

•    100 percent federally funded.


•    Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for an initial 30 counties in Hurricane Harvey’s path.

•    Friday, Aug.25, 2017

Harvey makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane when the eye of the storm comes ashore between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor. Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 24.5 trillion gallons of water across the Houston region, which is home to about 6 million Texans.

•    Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017

Gov. Greg Abbott announces that he is designating Commissioner George P. Bush and the GLO to lead the state’s short-term Hurricane Harvey housing recovery efforts.  This marks the first time FEMA funded housing efforts have been led at a state level.

•    Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017

The GLO signs an agreement with FEMA outlining the programs that will be offered for the short-term housing assistance for the state's initial Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. The GLO launched an informational website for individuals and local leaders: www.TexasRebuilds.com

•    Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

The Project Management, Administrative, and Implementation Plans are finalized and approved by FEMA. These plans were required by FEMA and outlined in the Intergovernmental Service Agreement (IGSA).

The GLO is:

•    Making daily calls to those who have qualified for short-term FEMA housing.

•    Contracting for several services including the manufacturing of short-term disaster assistance housing (manufactured homes and RVs); the haul and install and maintenance of the units; construction services to provide basic repairs for homes damaged by the hurricane; and audit services and project management services.

•    Additional procurements may be released as needed. Contractors should reference the Electronic State Business Daily (ESBD) on the Texas Comptrollers website.


Since 2011, the CDR program of the Texas General Land Office has administered the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) on behalf of the state of Texas. Total funding of approximately $4 billion has been allocated for recovery through CDBG-DR following Hurricanes Rita, Dolly, and Ike; the 2011 wildfires, and the 2015 and 2016 floods. These grants can be used for a wide variety of recovery efforts including housing redevelopment, business assistance, and infrastructure repair. For more information, please visit TexasRebuilds.org.


 Feature Stories


 News & Columns