HOUSTON -- Both FEMA and Red Cross are offering assistance to victims of Harvey but getting that assistance is not easy.
The Red Cross is offering $400 through its "Immediate Assistance Program," but their website has been overwhelmed and was not working on Monday and Tuesday.
The FEMA website is working but it's not easy to navigate through the different programs and eligibility requirements. You can apply for FEMA assistance at one of the FEMA centers or you can apply on online at disasterassistance.gov.
FEMA offers grants and loans to recover from disasters. Below is information posted on FEMA's website explaining the different types of assistance they offer.
FEMA's Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disasters who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs. IHP is not a substitute for insurance and cannot compensate for all losses caused by a disaster; it is intended to meet the survivor's basic needs and supplement disaster recovery efforts.
IHP Housing Assistance Provision FEMA determines the appropriate types of Housing Assistance for which an individual or household may be eligible based on disaster-caused loss, access to life-sustaining services, cost-effectiveness, and other factors. Individuals and households may receive more than one type of Housing Assistance, including a combination of financial assistance and direct services for disaster damage to a disaster survivor's primary residence.
Financial Housing Assistance - FEMA provides funds paid directly to eligible individuals and households and may include the following types of assistance:
Rental Assistance: To secure temporary housing while repairs are being made to the pre-disaster primary residence or while transitioning to permanent housing. Rental Assistance may be used to rent a house, apartment, manufactured home, recreational vehicle, or other readily fabricated dwelling.
Lodging Expense Reimbursement: Reimbursement for hotels, motels, or other short-term lodging while an applicant is displaced from their primary residence.
Home Repair Assistance: To help repair an owner-occupied primary residence, utilities, and residential structure, including privately-owned access routes (driveways, roads, or bridges) to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.
Home Replacement Assistance: To help homeowners replace their uninsured or underinsured primary residence, destroyed by a disaster.
Direct Housing Assistance - FEMA may provide direct housing services to eligible individuals and households, when disaster survivors are unable to use Rental Assistance due to a lack of available housing resources. The impacted state, territorial, or tribal government must request Direct Fact Sheet Individuals and Households Program Temporary Housing Assistance and FEMA must approve this assistance prior to implementation. Direct Temporary Housing Assistance is not counted toward the IHP maximum award amount and may include:
Manufactured Housing Units: Manufactured homes provided by FEMA and made available to use as temporary housing.
Multi-Family Lease and Repair: This assistance allows FEMA to enter into lease agreements with owners of multi-family rental properties located in disaster areas and make repairs or improvements to provide temporary housing to disaster survivors.
Permanent or Semi-Permanent Housing Construction: Home repair and/or construction services provided in insular (limited) areas outside the continental United States and other locations where no alternative housing resources are available; and where other types of FEMA Housing Assistance are unavailable, infeasible, or not cost-effective.
IHP Other Needs Assistance Provision Individuals and households may receive financial assistance for other disaster-caused expenses and serious needs. Eligibility for some types of Other Needs Assistance are dependent on eligibility with the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) disaster loan program. The SBA provides low interest, long-term loans to help individuals and households with personal property, transportation, and expenses for moving and storage incurred due to a declared disaster. FEMA IHP Other Needs Assistance is divided into two categories that are either dependent or non-dependent on the individual's or household's ability to qualify for a SBA disaster loan.
SBA Dependent Types of Other Needs Assistance - Only individuals or households who do not qualify for a loan from the SBA may be eligible for the following types of assistance:
Personal Property Assistance: To repair or replace essential household items including, but not limited to, furnishings and appliances, accessibility items defined within the Americans with Disabilities Act, and specialized tools and protective clothing required by an employer.
Transportation Assistance: To repair or replace a vehicle damaged by a disaster and other transportation-related costs.
Moving and Storage Assistance: To relocate and store personal property from the damaged primary residence to prevent further disaster damage, such as ongoing repairs, and returning the property to the primary residence.
Non-SBA Dependent Types of Other Needs Assistance - May be awarded regardless of the individual's or household's SBA disaster loan status and may include:
Funeral Assistance: To assist with funeral expenses incurred as a direct result of a declared disaster, which may include reallocation or reburial of unearthed remains and replacement of burial vessels and markers.
Medical and Dental Assistance: To assist with medical or dental expenses caused by a disaster, which may include injury, illness, loss of prescribed medication and equipment, or insurance co-payments.
Child Care Assistance: A one-time payment, covering up to eight cumulative weeks of child care expenses, for a household's increased financial burden to care for children aged 13 and under; and/or children aged 14 to 18 with a disability as defined by federal law.
Miscellaneous or Other Items Assistance: To reimburse for eligible items purchased or rented after a disaster incident for an individual or household's recovery, such as gaining access to the property or assisting with cleaning efforts. Eligible items are identified by the state, territorial, or tribal government and may include items such as a chainsaw, air purifier or dehumidifier.