Here's why experts say you shouldn't wait to apply for FEMA if you think you qualify for assistance

Pooja Lodhia Image
Friday, May 24, 2024
Don't wait to apply for FEMA if you think you qualify for assistance
Since Houston's deadly storm, the city has been working to recover from the damage, and experts say to apply for FEMA sooner rather than later.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If your home or business was damaged in last week's storm, federal officials advise that now is the time to apply for assistance.

FEMA can provide money for emergency supplies and housing.

The Small Business Administration has announced businesses are eligible to receive up to $2 million in loans.

Individuals can get up to $500,000 for damaged property.

"I think everybody is just exhausted about what's going on and what's not happening because people are unaware of certain things," Mary Roberts said. "When you don't know, you can't do anything. As my mom used to tell me, 'You know better, you can act better.'"

Roberts knows there's help, and she's applying to get it.

Power outages spoiled her food, and the storm damaged her floors, ceiling, and walls.

"I be saying, 'Lord just keep me, don't let it fall in,' because you never know," she said. "I was really afraid."

Roberts has lived in the same house her whole life, in a part of Houston's Fifth Ward that's been declared a cancer cluster due to chemicals from an old railyard.

City officials have offered to buy homes from residents, but many have declined, saying they don't trust the plan.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm not selling mine because I can't buy another one," she said. "How do I know where they're going to move me to? I'm not moving."

Nobody in the neighborhood knows yet if recent storm damage will affect buyout plans.

All they know is that they're hurting now and need help.

On the next street, another Mary has also applied for FEMA assistance after losing all the food in her freezer.

Mary Hutchins' application didn't go through the first time, but she kept trying and now has a case number.

"I know everybody here. Their lights were out for four to five days," Hutchins explained. "We've just got to get the information into the hood."

"I wish everybody could get some help, really, because during this time, we need it," Roberts said.

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