Renters in the 126 Texas designated counties who were forced from their damaged homes because of the severe winter storms may be eligible for help from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Federal monetary awards may help pay for temporary housing and other needs not covered by insurance.
FEMA’s Rental Assistance
Awards may be available to rent a different place to live for a limited time while repairs are made to your rental home. The initial rental award is for two months and may be reviewed for further assistance.
Rental grants may be used for security deposits, rent and the cost of essential utilities, such as gas and water. The grants may not be used to pay for separate cable or internet bills. The grants are not loans, and don’t have to be repaid. They are not taxable income and won’t affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
Replacement and Repair of Other Needs
FEMA also helps eligible survivors, including renters, with uninsured and underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the storms.
Renters may also qualify for an award under FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance Program for essential personal property and other disaster-related expenses. These may include replacement or repair of necessary personal property, such as furniture, appliances, clothing, textbooks or school supplies; replacement or repair of tools and other job-related equipment; vehicle repair; and medical/dental bills.
Renters may register with FEMA in one of three ways:
• Online, by visiting www.DisasterAssistance.gov;
• By downloading theFEMA app to a smartphone or tablet; or
• By calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available.
The toll-free lines are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT daily. Helpline operators are also available to answer questions about applications already submitted.
The registration process includes providing a phone number so FEMA can contact you and set up a virtual home inspection. If you use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel, you should provide FEMA your specific number assigned to that service.
To register online at DisasterAssistance.gov click the blue Apply Online button at the bottom of the page, then review the disaster survivor application checklist and complete an application to learn if you are eligible to receive disaster assistance.
After registering, you may stay on DisasterAssistance.gov to create a personal online disaster assistance account to stay in touch with FEMA. To create one:
• Click the green Check Status button at bottom of DisasterAssistance.gov.
• Click the blue Create Account button at bottom of the page.
• Enter your date of birth and Social Security number, which you provided previously when registering for assistance.
• Answer four security questions that are generated from public record data to verify your identity.
• Create a user ID and password.
• Enter an email address. FEMA will send a temporary PIN to it within 24 hours. Follow the instructions in the email to finish creating your account.
If You Have Been Evicted
Renters who face eviction or have been evicted from their storm-damaged apartment complex—whether their unit had damage or not—may be eligible for disaster assistance. Renters who have already registered for federal assistance and were evicted after they registered due to damage to other parts of their complex should call the FEMA Helpline.
Renters may also qualify for long-term, low-interest loans of up to $40,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans may be used to cover the cost of repairing or replacing essential storm-damaged personal property.
For information, visit SBA.gov/disaster, call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339) or
Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Bosque, Bowie, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Cherokee, Collin, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fort Bend, Freestone, Galveston, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzalez, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Howard, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kleberg, Lavaca, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Llano, Lubbock, Medina, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Milam, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Robertson, Rockwall, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Taylor, Tom Green, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Wichita, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Wise and Wood.
For more information on the severe winter storms in Texas, visit fema.gov/disaster/4586.