FEMA: $1.5 Billion Doled Out to Harvey Victims

Local, state and federal officials continue to urge patience as frustration grows among Texans still piecing their lives back together after hurricane harvey.

As of Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration had already doled out more than $1.5 billion in relief funds.

“We've taken in about 800,000 applications and I think we've done home inspections on 200,000, we have 26,000 rooms that we are renting and we also have been providing rental assistance to about 45,000 homeowners and renters who can't live in their homes right now,” says FEMA spokesman Leo Skinner.

Skinner says each case is different, so one person may get a loan while their neighbor receives a grant.  Some programs, such as rental assistance, require multiple applications.

“You have to renew that every couple weeks because FEMA's plan is to put in some temporary housing until you can have a long-term plan, whether that's getting back into your home or getting something more permanent,” he says.

Francisco Sanchez at the Harris County Office of Emergency Management reminds hurricane victims there is an appeal process for FEMA.

“If you go to readyharris.org we have links to social service organizations, Lone Star Legal Aide is an organization you can go to if you're denied by FEMA, and you can get those resources to appeal that decision,” he says.

Sanchez urges victims to seek out a disaster case manager through the county's 2-1-1 hotline to help sift through the red tape.

“That disaster case manager specializes to make sure you have the resources you need, from counseling to assistance to benefits,” he says.

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