Federal emergency aid is available to the state of Texas to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by a severe winter storm beginning on Feb. 11, 2021 and continuing. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1.800.621.3362 or 1.800.462.7585 TTY.
Governor Abbott and the Public Utility Commission have signed two orders: The first one directs energy providers to temporarily stop disconnecting customers from power or water because of non-payment. The second one temporarily stops companies from sending invoices or bill estimates to customers until the issue of sky-rocketing bills has been resolved.
Memorial Assistance Ministries
MAM is assisting low-income individuals and families that were affected by the 2021 winter emergency with limited repair costs and flexible spending financial assistance.
Overall requirements: Valid picture ID; proof of address; proof of damage for those requesting funds for repairs, insurance deductible, etc. (pictures, insurance claim, etc.); W-9; lease if applicable; must live in one of the MAM Service Area Zip Codes: 77008, 77009, 77018, 77022, 77024, 77037, 77039, 77040, 77041, 77043, 77055, 77076, 77079, 77080, 77088, 77091, 77092; income at or below 80% of AMI, or Maximum Annual Household Income of:
1 person: $44,150
2 persons: $50,450
3 persons: $56,750
4 persons: $63,050
5 persons: $68,100
6 persons: $73,150
7 persons: $78,200
8 persons: $83,250
Basic assistance: Flexible spending assistance to those that may need help with food, water, or other basic needs.
Advanced assistance: For those that sustained physical damages such as ruptured pipes or structure damages. This will be paid directly to contractor or insurance company for deductibles. Also, to cover first month rent or deposit to those that were forced to move due to 2021 winter storm damages.
The following documents may be required: proof of damage, receipts or estimates, W-9, and lease for 1st month rent or deposit.
Assistance may be requested online at www.mamhouston.org/freeze or by calling 713.574.7533
Catholic Charities is also helping families impacted by the storm. Eligibility and documentation requirements, as well as the form to apply may be found at www.catholiccharities.org/winterstormhelp/.
Houston residents should continue to visit www.readyharris.org and www.HoustonEmergency.org for updates on the City’s ongoing response to the winter storm. Recovery resource information is also available.
According to the IRS, those affected by the winter storm in Texas will have until June 15, 2021 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. Learn more at: www.irs.gov/newsroom
Assistance with Food
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) received federal approval to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to use their food benefits to purchase hot foods and ready-to-eat meals due to impacts from the severe winter storm. SNAP recipients can now use their benefits for hot foods and ready-to-eat foods, such as rotisserie chicken or grocery store deli foods, at retailers that accept SNAP anywhere in the state. The waiver allows SNAP recipients to purchase these ready-made foods with their Lone Star Cards through the end of March.
Additionally, Texas received federal approval Feb. 19 to allow SNAP recipients to apply for replacement benefits for food lost or destroyed due to the severe weather. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at www.YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits. To find local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 and select option 1.
Other Storm Recovery Resources
American Red Cross
Small Business Administration-Disaster Assistance
Government Benefits Search
Dept. of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control
TX Governor’s Division of Emergency Management
Office of Attorney General General Consumer Protection
Texas Department of Insurance
Houston Emergency Management
See more at: www.centerpointenergy.com