Tuesday AM December 2nd, 2008

image of FEMA's blue roof tarpAlmost a half-million Texans have been referred to FEMA's Individuals and Households Program for assistance, as the December 12th deadline approaches. More than $311 million has been approved for temporary housing assistance and home repairs. FEMA's David Riedman says the new deadline is an extension.

"On debris removal, so far we have about 18 and a half million cubic yards of debris and we're currently in a 100 per cent reimbursement program, where FEMA is reimbursing the state and the local community for 100 per cent of that debris removal cost."

Riedman says about 76,000 are receiving rental assistance for transitional housing because their homes are unlivable after Hurricane Ike. More than $215 million has been spent by FEMA for nearly 5,000 applicants still living in hotels and motels. The deadline for Transitional Sheltering Assistance is January 15th. Riedman says FEMA has obligated $121.7 million in public assistance aid to local governments for debris removal, emergency protective services and infrastructure repairs. Registration can be completed at the FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Centers, or online, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.

"And what they need to supply is their social security number, their pre-disaster address, and also their current mailing address. They also to make sure they provide a telephone number. They need to have their insurance information, including the policy number, because FEMA works with the insurance company and provides assistance for those that are uninsured, underinsured or not completely covered."

Some $2.9 million in special Disaster Unemployment Assistance aid has been authorized, and $776 million in assistance for other needs such as moving and storage, transportation, medical and burial expenses.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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