The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies offer an extensive portfolio of disaster assistance and recovery programs. USDA encourages residents and small businesses in the Hurricane Harvey to consider the following programs and contact the following offices to meet their individual needs:
When floods destroy or severely damage residential property, USDA Rural Development can assist with providing priority hardship application processing for single family housing. Under a disaster designation, USDA Rural Development can issue a priority letter for next available multi-family housing units. While these programs do not normally have disaster assistance authority, many of USDA Rural Development programs can help provide financial relief to small businesses hit by natural disasters, including low-interest loans to community facilities, water environmental programs, businesses and cooperatives and to rural utilities. More information can be found on the Rural Development website or by contacting the State Offices.
Severe weather forecasts often present the possibility of power outages that could compromise the safety of stored food. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends that consumers take the necessary steps before, during, and after a power outage to reduce food waste and minimize the risk of foodborne illness. FSIS offers tips for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe and a brochure that can be downloaded and printed for reference at home. If you have questions about the safety of food in your home, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET or visit AskKaren.gov to chat live with a food safety specialist, available in English and Spanish.
Owners of meat and poultry producing businesses who have questions or concerns may contact the FSIS Small Plant Help Desk by phone at 1-877-FSIS-HELP (1-877-374-7435), by email at email@example.com, or 24/7 online.
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers many safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and the Tree Assistance Program. The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation also is available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting. USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to learn what documents can help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.
Producers with coverage through the RMA administered federal crop insurance program should contact their crop insurance agent. Those who purchased crop insurance will be paid for covered losses. Producers should report crop damage within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.
For declared natural disasters that lead to imminent threats to life and property, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can assist local government sponsors with the cost of implementing recovery efforts like debris removal and streambank stabilization to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. NRCS staff is coordinating with state partners to complete damage assessments in preparation for sponsor assistance requests. NRCS also can help producers with damaged agricultural lands caused by natural disasters such as floods. The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial assistance to repair and prevent excessive soil erosion that can result from high rainfall events and flooding. Conservation practices supported through EQIP protect the land and aid in recovery, can build the natural resource base, and might help mitigate loss in future events.
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides support for disaster education through the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). EDEN is a collaborative multi-state effort with land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension Services across the country, using research-based education and resources to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. EDEN's goal is to improve the nation's ability to mitigate, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters. EDEN equips county-based Extension educators to share research-based resources in local disaster management and recovery efforts. The EDEN website offers a searchable database of Extension professionals, resources, member universities and disaster agency websites, education materials to help people deal with a wide range of hazards, and food and agricultural defense educational resources.
For complete details and eligibility requirements regarding USDA's disaster assistance programs, contact a Local Service Center.
FSA Disaster Assistance Presentation
This presentation was given on November 3, 2017, by members of the United States Department of Agriculture - Texas Farm Service Agency and hosted by the Community & Environmental Planning Department at the Houston-Galveston Area Council. For more information about the presentation, please contact Clint McManus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-682-2513.
USDA Local Service Center
If you lost your job because of Hurricane Harvey, you may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). For more information and to apply online visit the TWC website, or call 1-800-939-6631 (7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday).
The deadline has been extended to October 31, 2017 for individuals filing for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
TWC Disaster Unemployment Assistance Application
Three State of Texas/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers will open Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in the cities of Katy, Baytown and Houston.
Disaster recovery centers offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in 39 counties included in the Texas federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent floods.
Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (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 new centers are at the following locations:
Katy Mills Mall (Fort Bend County)5000 Katy Mills CircleKaty TX 77494Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Baytown Community Center (Harris County)2407 Market StreetBaytown TX 77520Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Greenspoint Mall (Harris County)263 Greenspoint MallHouston TX 77060Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Additional Disaster Recovery Center Information
Harris County homeowners who have any type of property damage from Hurricane Harvey can now report that damage to the Harris County Appraisal District through the district’s upgraded app.
The upgraded app allows residential property owners to report flood, tornado or roof damage electronically.
The new HCAD app is available to download for free through the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, but it requires an iPhone 4 or an iPad 3 or beyond. If you already have the app, you can update it to reveal the new damage report feature.
View the HCAD press release for additional information.
Visit the HCAD Website
The International Economic Development Council provides a free Disaster Preparedness and Economic Recovery webinar series each year focusing on practical information on key topics for economic development professionals and chambers of commerce.
View the Webinars
TCEQ has created an emergency response webpage that contains resources on a variety of topics. This page is being updated with current information regarding the Hurricane Harvey response.
TCEQ Hurricane Response Website
As we enter the period of recovery in our communities, there is some important information pertaining to local governments, businesses, and local residents, that our partners at the Texas General Land Office would like you to be aware of:
To assist in your recovery efforts, here is a short checklist to ensure your community gets each and every dollar that they deserve, and as an additional reminder please make sure any recovery related procurements follow standards as outlined in the Federal Register, 2 CFR 200.318-326 and all applicable CDBG-DR regulations. Federal funds may be contingent on following these standards.
Texas General Land Office Website
The following are programs managed by H-GAC that could provide useful to the region during the recovery process:
H-GAC's Regional Flood Information App is an interactive GIS tool providing information on neighborhoods and populations vulnerable to potential flooding and hazards. It consolidates data from various federal and local agencies relevant to recent flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in the 13-county H-GAC region. The application includes:
Users can get more information about the application and how to use it by accessing the user guide, available by clicking the "information" icon in the application.
For more information, contact us at CEGIS@h-gac.com.
HGACBuy offers cooperative purchasing solutions for local governments and non-profit organizations. Two services lines that can be useful for communities in the aftermath of Harvey include:Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Services and All Hazards Preparedness, Planning, Consulting and Recovery Services.
H-GAC offers disaster debris videos and flyers for local governments. YouTube videos highlight the proper way for residents to handle debris after disasters. Companion flyers are available. Both are available in English and Spanish and can be distributed to residents via web and social media channels.
Workforce Solutions has prepared a Hurricane Harvey Recovery Updates page listing available resources related to employment and wage claims.
The Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging has created a Disaster Relief Guide to assist Older Texans and those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and a guide to replacing items lost due to flooding.
FEMA Disaster Assistance DisasterAssistance.gov 1-800-621-3362 TTY: 1-800-462-7585
Texas Emergency Assistance Hotline 1-877-541-7905
Texas Hurricane Centerhttps://gov.texas.gov/hurricane