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FEMA Takes Lead In Distributing First Harvey Relief Package

The agency will administer nearly half the $15.25 billion in aid from the legislation President Trump signed into law last week. HUD and SBA will oversee the rest.


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FEMA is taking the lead on providing immediate help for people who've lost their homes, cars, or other property. In addition, the Small Business Administration is offering help for home and business owners in the form of loans.

"We cover uninsured losses, underinsured losses, as well as insurance deductibles. It may just be a matter of a deductible," says SBA spokesman Mark Randle, who is working out of the shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The SBA has already approved more than $100 million worth of disaster assistance loans related to Harvey.

Randle stresses there is a 60-day deadline to apply for assistance. The clock starts ticking moment the president declares a federal disaster. "In this particular instance," he says, "for the physical damage, it's October 24, 2017. That's the deadline to register with FEMA and also to apply to SBA."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also using FEMA registrations as a gauge in order to determine where to send block grants to fix longer-term problems.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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