Federal Agencies Offer Assistance to Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

August 30, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

storm-clouds-1191897It’s heartbreaking to watch the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. Many lives will be affected by this storm that just would not move. To help all the families and individuals in the Gulf Coast region, several federal agencies are taking numerous steps to provide assistance.

For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that it will provide food, emergency housing, community, as well as farmer and rancher assistance to individuals and small businesses affected by severe storms and flooding. It also will continue to work with states affected by the hurricane regarding requests for various assistance, waivers and flexibilities in administering federal nutrition assistance programs.

USDA has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other disaster-focused organizations and created the Disaster Resource Center website at https://www.usda.gov/topics/disaster. This central source of information features a searchable knowledgebase of disaster-related resources and assistance that are powered by agents with subject-matter expertise.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has declared a public health emergency in Texas and Louisiana in response to Hurricane Harvey. Among the steps the agency is taking to assist those in the area, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a media advisory explaining how families can keep themselves safe and the Administration for Children and Families is working to identify the number of Head Start centers affected by the storm.

FEMA is offering Critical Needs Assistance to individuals and households who, as a result of the disaster, have immediate or critical needs because they are displaced from their primary dwelling. Immediate or critical needs are life-saving and life-sustaining items including, but not limited to: water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation. This assistance is awarded under the Other Needs Assistance provision of the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) and is subject to a state cost share. It is a one-time $500 paym.ent per household.

FEMA also is providing Transitional Shelter Assistance to applicants who are unable to return to their pre-disaster primary residence because their home is either unihabitaable or inaccessible due to a presidentially-declared disaster. This type of assistance is intended to reduce the number of disaster survivors in congregate shelters by transitioning survivors into short-term accommodations through direct payments to lodging providers. Those affected can apply for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov.

The effects of this natural disaster will be felt for weeks and months, if not years, to come. Hopefully, federal assistance will help those in these states recover over time.

Let us know how Hurricane Harvey is affecting you and what federal assistance is needed in your situation.

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