The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Texas’ request for disaster loans in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The loans will help local governments maintain their normal operations and budgets as local communities continue the recovery process.
Governor Greg Abbott announced FEMA’s approval Monday evening. Abbott said the funding was crucial for cities in Texas that are still battling intense flooding and overwhelming damage.
In a statement on Twitter, Abbott said: “These loans are critical to providing cities with the resources and flexibility to recover while still providing important services to the Texas in their communities.”
The Texas governor had sent a request to FEMA earlier on Monday requesting that the loan program be activated for affected communities. That same day, Abbott added seven more counties to the federal disaster declaration, which includes Austin.
A total of 43 counties are now receiving federal assistance.
Approximately 560,000 Texans have applied for housing through FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the agency said. Families that were in the path of the storm are eligible for housing assistance.
FEMA’s assistance program helps families find long-term housing if their homes are inaccessible or no longer inhabitable.
Among the more-than half-a-million applicants. 53,000 were displaced residents staying in hotels paid for by FEMA. The feds are considering mobile homes to house more families.
Homeowners impacted by the storm face a challenging road ahead. The grant and aid application process can be lengthy, and insurance may not cover the full cost of damages. Experts estimate that only a small percentage of victims will have adequate flood insurance.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is prepared to offer $3.3 billion in disaster loans to business owners impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The SBA is transporting more of its loan processors to Fort Worth to handle the expected influx of loan applications.
“The goal is to always do this as efficiently and effectively and timely as possible, but if you’re out of your home or you’re out of your business, nothing is ever fast enough,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon.
McMahon says the SBA is doing all that it can to expedite the process and help applicants get the help they need.
The SBA is offering low-interest, 30-year loans to cover the cost of uninsured damage to homes and businesses. Loans of up to $25,000 can be granted without collateral. Businesses can take out up to $2 million to cover the cost of repairs or to relocate. The limit for a home loan is $200,000. Interest rates range between 1.75% and 6.61%.