Texas Department of Health and Human Services seeks federal assistance to support recent storm survivor program during hurricane season

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Although the application was approved, some neighbors in the greater Houston area are still waiting for assistance following recent storms, and we've learned that the state agency in charge has requested federal assistance.

From floods to tornadoes to squalls, many residents in southeast Texas have been affected by severe weather recently.

To help people, FEMA offered assistance.

ABC13 heard from several people waiting and contacted FEMA.

According to FEMA, the state has taken control and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services is in charge.

A spokesperson sent a statement to ABC13 saying:

“HHSC is working diligently to distribute funds to FEMA-certified disaster victims. While we are responding to calls as quickly and efficiently as possible, wait times may be longer than usual as our staff handles the increased call volume. FEMA has agreed to answer HHSC inquiries on its hotline while we expand our hotline capacity.”

As efforts continue to assist survivors of recent events, emergency managers are preparing for what may happen next.

“Then we're going to see more of these tropical storms and tropical weather patterns that can lead to hurricanes,” said Brent Taylor, spokesman for the Houston Emergency Management Agency.

Taylor said you'll need an emergency kit with various items, including water, food, medicine and documents such as building insurance.

Normally, the agency would have five days to warn neighbors. But the warm water in the Gulf could change the situation, as was seen last year during a storm in Florida.

“In one day, a tropical storm became a Category 5 storm,” Taylor said. “That's incredible. That's the kind of thing we need to keep an eye on.”

If you're affected, here's what you should know, according to FEMA. Inspectors may come to your home to assess any damage.

If your application is denied, you may simply need to submit more information. You can appeal the decision.

Help is available not only for homeowners, but also for renters. The National Weather Service predicts that there could be a hurricane season of above-average intensity, with up to 25 named storms.

“I wouldn't say they should panic, but I would say they should be prepared,” Taylor said.

While there are some issues with how the money is distributed, don't hesitate to reach out if you need help. According to FEMA, neighbors still have about a month to apply.

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