The disaster assistance - which comes in the form of grants and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - continues to increase every day as more homeowners, renters and business owners move forward with their recovery, according to officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management (GDEM).
More than $337 million has been approved for disaster assistance under the Individuals and Households Program. This includes more than $274 million in Housing Assistance and more than $63 million in Other Needs Assistance.
The SBA has approved more than $177 million in low-interest disaster loans and has issued more than 372,000 applications for home loans and more than 77,000 applications for business loans.
"Half a billion dollars for Texans impacted by Hurricane Ike shows a great deal of progress," said State Coordinating Officer Joan Haun. "But we realize that more has to be done, especially in the hard-hit counties with housing challenges."
FEMA is using several temporary housing options and related programs in its mission to ensure displaced Texans have safe, sanitary and functional shelter as they work on their long-term recovery. Among them:
The Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program has been extended for eligible applicants until Jan. 15, 2009. TSA is providing short-term, transitional sheltering by directly paying hotels and motels for more than 5,000 applicants. FEMA grants extensions to applicants in two-week increments as needed.
FEMA has referred more than 19,000 eligible applicants to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Disaster Housing Assistance Program or DHAP-IKE, which began on Nov. 1. HUD's network of Public Housing Authorities is working diligently to place eligible families and individuals into rental units.
FEMA has pledged to speed up the process for the installation of temporary manufactured housing for those Texans living in communities where other housing options are unavailable. More than 400 applicants currently occupy FEMA mobile homes.
"We are attacking our challenges at every level," said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman. "We will do all we can to ensure eligible applicants are receiving the assistance they need and this milestone of more than half a billion shows our commitment."
Texans who suffered losses or damage from Hurricane Ike should register for disaster assistance, online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice.
Applicants should also continue to update their address and phone numbers by calling the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Otherwise, they may miss important correspondence or telephones calls regarding their payments or applications for assistance.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.