Gov. Rick Perry is asking President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Administration [FEMA] to reverse a decision denying benefits to individual victims of southwest Austin’s Halloween floods.
Fast moving floodwaters in the early hours of Oct. 31 last year – concentrated in the southwest Austin neighborhood of Onion Creek – claimed six lives and ruined hundreds of homes.
In a letter to the President, Gov. Perry writes:
The hardest hit area of Onion Creek consists of working families who, according to a Census Bureau report, have a median household income below-$40,000 - well below the state and national average. …
While these communities are valiantly striving to recover, they are in desperate need of significant resources, beyond local, regional and state capabilities. This disaster has caused major disruption to the lives of these residents. Recovery will be a long and difficult process.
The letter goes on to ask President Obama for individual assistance for flood victims, including resources like transitional shelter, legal services, crisis counseling and more. You can read the letter here [PDF].
FEMA conducted an assessment of the Onion Creek region in November. While damages were large enough to draw federal assistance, and Obama has since issued a disaster declaration, the funds were not meant for individual assistance.