The Obama administration informed Governor Rick Perry on Friday that the request for FEMA assistance due to massive flooding from Tropical Storm Hermine in September, which had previously been denied, and then was appealed, was denied. Many areas in Williamson County had significant damage and homes destroyed or damaged. On Tuesday, in commissioner’s court, Jarred Thomas, director of Emergency Management, submitted a written report, which I read aloud. Here is an excerpt:
“We are working with the City of Round Rock to identify a location to establish an assistance center in the event we receive an SBA Declaration. We are also researching other disaster related grant programs that may be available due to the FEMA denial. The county is still assisting the Long-term Recovery Committee and we have seen an increase in the number of Unmet Needs Surveys provided by affected citizens. We are encouraging individuals to monitor the Wilco Website for updates and to complete the survey if they require assistance.
We are also working with the USDA to obtain an Agricultural Disaster Declaration which will make available low interest loans available to eligible Ag-producers. There will be additional information regarding Agriculture damages on the website posted today or tomorrow.”
More information from the county’s press release:
“The State of Texas has now requested a disaster declaration from the Secretary of Commerce. This declaration will enable the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make low interest Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to eligible applicants.
Once the SBA declaration is issued, representatives will set up a loan office in Round Rock to assist applicants. Information about the location and hours of the loan office will be posted on the Williamson County website at www.wilco.org once the site is identified. Homeowners and renters must submit their Physical Disaster loan applications within 60 days of the declaration. Business and other eligible applicants have up to nine months to complete and submit their Economic Injury Disaster Loans applications. For more information about SBA disaster loans, click here.
Williamson County Judge Dan a. Gattis has requested the governor seek an agricultural disaster declaration from the Secretary of Agriculture. If the declaration is approved, Farm Service Agency loans will be made available to eligible agricultural producers and farm operators.
The Williamson County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) has established the Tropical Storm Hermine Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) to assist local residents affected by Tropical Storm Hermine.
“We are very disappointed and know that most families need assistance to help rebuild their home,” said Debbie Hoffman, Williamson County VOAD LTRC Chair. “Our Long Term Recovery Committee is working on a cohesive plan, pulling together resources within our community to help those with unmet needs.”
Williamson County VOAD and the LTRC are partnering with city and county agencies to determine the needs of families affected by the recent flooding.
How to Request Assistance
Based on FEMA’s decision, the Williamson County VOAD is asking all affected residents who have unmet needs, such as needing building materials, help with home repairs, or replacing essential appliances, to complete the Unmet Needs Assessment Survey on the Williamson County website. If you do not have access to the internet or need help with the survey, please call 512-943-3839 and leave a message. . Your call will be returned as soon as possible.
How to Help Your Neighbors in Need
Many families are still displaced from their homes and are in need of basic necessities in order to rebuild their lives. If you would like to make a financial donation, please mail your donation to:
Williamson County LTRC
TS Hermine Relief Fund
C/O Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation
116 West 8th Street
Georgetown, TX 78726
The LTRC needs the combined efforts of individuals, agencies, groups, churches and businesses to volunteer their time, talents and resources. LTRC is also looking for volunteers with specific building skills such as electricians, plumbers, carpet and tile installers, HVAC repair, cabinet makers, and drywall installers, to assist with rebuilding efforts. Volunteers can register at the Round Rock Volunteer Center website at http://www.volrock.org Click on the “Help Now” button and register by clicking on the “Sign Up” button.
The Williamson County LTRC is not accepting donations of goods or services at this time.
Information about the Williamson County VOAD LTRC and its members will be posted on the Williamson County website at http://www.wilco.org as it becomes available. If you do not have access to the internet, you should phone 512-943-3839 for more information.”
(This column consists of my opinions and observtions and does not reflect those of any other person or organization.)