Harvey: How individuals, business owners can apply for FEMA assistance

HOUSTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in southeast Texas and is urging residents affected by Hurricane Harvey to apply for assistance as soon as possible.

According to a statement from FEMA, applicants may be eligible to receive: rental payments for temporary housing, unemployment payments, loans to cover residential losses not covered by insurance, and grants for home repairs and replacement of personal property, as well as other disaster-related needs.

The federal aid programs were made available after President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration ahead of Harvey's landfall. Almost 25 percent of Texas' residents live in areas covered by the federal declaration.

Fifty of the state's counties have been declared state disaster zones, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Applicants may apply for help from FEMA by registering on the website DisasterAssistance.gov. There is also a FEMA app for smartphones and tablets.

People without internet access may sign up by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362). Though FEMA administrators caution the call load is heavy and calling is not the best option.

Individuals who have speech disabilities or hearing loss and use TTY should call (800) 462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call (800) 621-3362. Both toll-free numbers will be operational from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice, according to FEMA.

Area shelters also have FEMA representatives on hand to help storm survivors apply online. Residents who are not staying at shelters but do not have access to computers may also use a shelter location to apply.

There are no dedicated federal disaster recovery centers in southeast Texas yet, though FEMA is working to set those up as quickly as possible.

ABC13 partnered with FEMA representatives to get your questions answered on Facebook Live.

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