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FEMA, SBA open flood recovery center in Stafford

FEMAThe Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration have offered assistance to more than 50 residents of Fort Bend County with over $330,000 in assistance already.

So far, more than 265 residents have applied for some kind of assistance since damaging storms moved through last month in the 2016 Tax Day Flood. Today, they expand their capabilities at the Fort Bend County United Way Service Center, bringing representatives from FEMA, the Small Business Administration, non-profit community agencies, the State of Texas, and local specialists to help answer questions and help residents navigate the disaster assistance process.

“The Disaster Recovery Center is an important resource for our residents. Now that we are a few weeks removed from the storms, some residents may have already received determination letters, started a SBA loan process, or just have questions about the status of their assistance,” said Jeff Braun, Emergency Management Coordinator for Fort Bend County. “The Disaster Recovery Center is a valuable resource since residents can sit face-to-face with a recovery specialist and have all their questions answered.”

If individuals have received a Determination Letter – or have started the assistance process and have questions or need clarification – they should visit the new FEMA Disaster Recovery Center open recently at the United Way Fort Bend County Center on Parc Crest Drive in Stafford.

The recovery center will serve as a central location for survivors from Fort Bend County who need one-on-one help. State and federal professionals will be available to assist eligible survivors get help as quickly as possible.

Visiting with a recovery specialist is not a requirement for survivors who want disaster assistance, but the centers are an excellent way for people to get answers to their questions about disaster aid and help applying for it. Some of the services may include:

– Guidance regarding disaster recovery;
– Clarification of any written correspondence received;
– Housing Assistance and Rental Resources information;
– Answers to questions, resolutions to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance; and
– Status of applications being processed by FEMA.

The federal government is not the only source of assistance for survivors of the storm; local nonprofit agencies can help too. Many residents had their damaged homes cleaned up by volunteer teams; others have had assistance with moving, food, and rent as well.

Nonprofit community agencies – along with representatives from city, county, and federal government work together to address immediate needs and to plan a transition for long-term recovery. The opening of the recovery center in Fort Bend County is an example of the nonprofit community, local and federal governments working together to ensure that access to long-term recovery services are available in our community.

The United Way Fort Bend Center houses more than 16 agencies and 27 programs that can provide social services to the community on a year-round basis. In addition, the United Way of Greater Houston operates the 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE, a free social services helpline that operates 24 hours a day every day of the year.

“We are pleased that our United Way Fort Bend Center is a valuable resource for Fort Bend County residents,” said Anna M. Babin, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston. “We are in our community helping those who serve connect with those in need every day. The Disaster Recovery Center is a natural extension of what we do, and we sincerely hope that those affected by the recent floods will take full advantage of the services they provide.”

The Disaster Recovery Center will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closed Sunday. It is located at United Way Fort Bend Center, 12300 Parc Crest Drive, Stafford. For more information, call 281-207-2300.

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