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Disaster Relief for Houston Storm Victims

Audio version available here:

Length: approx. 2 min.

With the recent derecho storm and tornados ravaging through Houston this last Thursday, President Biden has approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas. Counties affected by the declaration are Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker Counties. Here is what the disaster declaration means.

Residents of counties affected by the deadly storm from last week and other extreme weather events from April 26th onward are eligible to apply for aid from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. Financial assistance from FEMA can include a $750 Serious Needs Assistance payment, which is meant to be used for immediate expenses incurred in sheltering, evacuating, and other basic household needs. Other assistance includes Displacement Assistance, which will aid people in staying housed. Immediate housing of a survivor's choice will be funded through Displacement Assistance, until a long-term rental option can be found during recovery.

Recent reforms to FEMA Disaster Assistance programs allow for easier applications and less restrictive eligibility requirements for disaster survivors. Previously, all applicants had to apply for SBA loans before being eligible for FEMA funds. Since many applicants were not searching for business funds, the requirement has been loosened, and applicants can now apply for both FEMA Disaster Assistance and SBA loans at the same time.

Those who do not receive enough funds from their insurance to cover costs associated with rebuilding are no longer bound by the $42,500 blanket cap on all assistance. Now, FEMA can provide assistance up to $42,500 if insurance payouts are not enough to cover the cost of rebuilding or other expenses “including deductibles and underinsured losses”.

To apply for FEMA assistance, visit, or download the FEMA App for mobile devices, or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. If you are concerned about how this assistance may affect your taxes, or you have a business affected by the extreme weather, reach out to the XQ CPA team for guidance. We are here for all business owners in Houston.

Phone: 832-295-3353

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Damaged power transmission lines in Houston, Texas
Image Credit: Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Landing


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