Winter Storm 2021 Assistance/ Relief Programs
Each of the three categories listed below are available and applicable to residents in both Dallas and Ellis County.
· President Biden signed the Major Disaster Declaration which opens up Individual Assistance for everyone in Dallas and Ellis County.
· As a result, FEMA can provide assistance to individuals and families for items not covered by insurance for homeowners and renters
· The first line of defense in any disaster is insurance but if you’re uninsured or underinsured, you may apply for the Individual Assistance, and check your application status at DisasterAssistance.gov.
· Or, you may call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) or download the FEMA App
· Before you apply for assistance, below are the steps you need to take to start your recovery process:
o Step One: Take photos of your damaged home and belongings.
o Step Two: Make a list of damaged/lost items.
o Step Three: Save yourself time. If you have insurance, you must file a claim with your insurance company. If you do not have insurance, continue to Step Four.
o Step Four: Apply with FEMA
· What does IA cover?
o Temporary Housing Assistance: Financial assistance to homeowners or renters to rent a temporary place to live if your home is unlivable because of the disaster, and you have no insurance coverage for temporary housing
o Lodging Expenses Reimbursement: Reimbursement of hotel expenses for homeowners or renters for short periods of time due to inaccessibility or utility outage, if not covered by insurance or any other program.
o Home Repair and Home Replacement: Financial assistance to homeowners to repair disaster-caused damage to their primary residence, when the damage is not covered by insurance, to make the home safe, sanitary, and fit to occupy or to help replace their home destroyed in the disaster.
o Other--Financial assistance is available for necessary expenses and serious needs directly caused by the disaster, including:
§ Child-care expenses
§ Medical and dental expenses
§ Funeral and burial expenses
§ Damages to essential household, job related or educational items
§ Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, dehumidifier)
§ Damage to an essential vehicle
§ Moving and storage expenses caused by the disaster
Small Business Administration
o Additionally, if you have damage to your home or business that is not covered by insurance, you may qualify for low interest loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA). As of today, the SBA has opened a virtual business recovery center and virtual disaster loan outreach center. Call (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to apply online
o Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
o Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets
o SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
o Many individuals will qualify for assistance. The bottom line is that we encourage all individuals to apply ---there is no cost to apply and no obligations.
o And if you are turned down, then it opens the door for FEMA assistance and other resources.
o Due to the State’s failure to properly regulate electricity prices, many Texans are seeing ridiculously high electric bills, some reports of up to $17,000. Here are some things you can do immediately :
o Stop auto-payment of your bill either by removing information from your online account or working with your bank directly.
o Check with your energy provider to determine if you are on a fixed rate or variable plan and understand the charges you might be facing.
o If you are on a variable plan with no protections, you may want to work with your provider to see if you can retroactively change your plan to a fixed rate
o Energy consumers should do what they can to educate themselves on their options. www.powertochoose.org is a good place to start.
o It is strongly recommended that you consider a fixed rate 12 month plan and remind yourself each January to check your plan and lock in the best rate. Furthermore, Dallas County hopes you’ll consider one of the 100% renewable or “green” plans.
o The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Clearinghouse National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project is a free service for those who want information on where to apply for Low Income Home Energy Assistance. The toll free number for NEAR is 1-866-674-6327, or TTY 1-866-367-6228.
o There are laws and regulations that require a utility to provide its customers with notice before it can terminate service. During this notice period, customers can take the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings or incorrect information by the utility, obtain crisis/emergency grants of payment assistance, establish a payment plan for arrearages, or register a complaint with the state public utility commission.