As the deadline to apply for federal wildfire disaster aid approaches, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is sharing some statistics that underscore the fires’ impact: The disbursement of some $36 million in wildfire aid, including $13.2 million in grants, and $19 million in low-interest “disaster loans.” And the agency is urging anyone who hasn’t yet filed a claim to do so before Friday.
FEMA public information officer Bob Howard says the agency’s grants have gone to different needs: $10.7 million to rental assistance and grants to rebuild homes, and $2.5 million to cover lost personal property, medical care, and even funeral expenses.
The agency has also spent some $78,000 in disaster unemployment assistance.
An additional $19 million in low interest disaster loans, provided by the Small Business Administration, have been made available to homeowners, renters and businesses; Howard calls them “a great tool to help people on the road to recovery.”
But FEMA’s assistance is coming to a close. While over 4,000 Texans have registered with FEMA across 23 counties, Howard implores anyone who might need assistance – but hasn’t yet registered for it – to do so now. “This is a hard deadline,” Howard says, “ so people who don’t register by this Friday won’t be able to register for disaster assistance … Register and find out if you’re eligible for assistance because once the deadline passes, you’re not going to be able to.”
Phone registration (1-800-621-3362) ends at 9 pm this Friday, January 6; registration on FEMA’s www.DisasterAssistance.gov website ends Friday at midnight Central Time.