President Joe Biden approved a federal disaster declaration for Texas late Friday, a response to the frigid winter conditions that forced millions of people across the state to struggle to stay warm with no access to power and strained access to water and food.
Through the order, the federal government will begin supplementing “state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms,” including through assistance to individuals in certain counties and emergency protective public assistanceFrom the White House:
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.
Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide.
While every Texas county will be given access to emergency protective assistance, only 77 of the state’s 254 counties will be allowed to access individual-based relief assistance. Governor Gregg Abbott (R-TX) originally requested individual assistance and public assistance for every Texas county, a request that was partially approved by the order..“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather,” said Abbott in a statement. “While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need. The funds provided under the Major Disaster Declaration may provide crucial assistance to Texans as they begin to repair their homes and address property damage.”