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FEMA opens disaster recovery center

Recovery specialists offer Harvey victims assistance at library

AUSTIN -- Although representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been working with local victims of Hurricane Harvey for the past week, the federal agency formally opened a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center Friday at the Livingston Municipal Library, 707 N. Tyler Ave.

Located in the library’s parking lot, the center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

The center was one of three opened Friday by the agency. Others were in Brazoria County in the city of Oyster Creek and another in Harris County in the city of Houston.

Disaster recovery centers offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in counties included in the Texas federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent floods.

Recovery specialists from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the state and other agencies will be at the centers to talk about assistance and to help anyone who needs guidance in filing an application

The SBA disaster assistance employees are committed to helping businesses and residents rebuild as quickly as possible. SBA representatives are available to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program and help business owners and residents apply to SBA.

Disaster recovery centers are accessible to people with disabilities. Centers have assistive technology equipment allowing disaster survivors to use amplified telephones, phones that display text, amplified listening devices for people with hearing loss and magnifiers for people with vision loss.

Video Remote Interpreting is available and in-person sign language is available by request. The centers also have accessible parking, ramps and restrooms.

If possible, homeowners, renters and businesses should register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center. Eligible residents may register for assistance the following ways:
Online at Disaster Assistance. gov.

Phone 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS-Video Relay Service) (TTY: 800-462-7585).
Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).

Via the FEMA app, available for Apple and Android mobile devices. To download visit:
fema.gov/mobile-app.

The following information is helpful when registering:
Address of the location where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address).
Current mailing address.
Current telephone number.
Insurance information.
Total household annual income.
Routing and account number for checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into a bank account).
A description of disaster-caused damage and losses.

Disaster survivors can visit any of the centers for assistance. Locations of other recovery centers are online at www.fema.gov/DRC.

Help available from the SBA includes low interest disaster loans for businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Private non-profit organizations and churches also are eligible.

The SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to provide working capital to help small businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, small businesses engaged in agriculture and most private non-profit organizations meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations.
Home disaster loans also are available through the SBA to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property including automobiles.

Those seeking these loans must have a credit history acceptable to the SBA and show they have the ability to repay the loans. Any physical loss loans and all EIDL loans over $25,000 require collateral such as real estate is available.

Loans can be up to a 30-year term with interest rates for home loans as low as 1.75 percent if the applicant does not have sufficient resources or the ability to borrow from non-governmental sources up to 3.5 percent for applicants who have the ability to provide for their own recovery.