LA FERIA — Don’t waste time listening to elevator music while waiting for help on the phone for disaster recovery assistance following the recent flooding.
FEMA representatives and a Small Business Administration loan team are on standby at the La Feria dome shelter offering one-on-one assistance to those devastated by the June Great Flood, which left thousands of homeowners and renters with flood damage.
The storm was an event that uncommonly hovered over the mid-Valley area and in particular, over the Mercedes area. The flooding left homes in knee-deep water and trapped many families who needed to be rescued.
The flooding rivaled that of Hurricane Beulah in some areas around the Valley.
Yesterday, FEMA officially opened its Cameron County Disaster Recovery Center in La Feria at the city safedome located at 1001 Pancho Maples Drive.
“It is not all about FEMA here, it really is about all the other agencies that are here to help,” said Robin Smith, FEMA’s Valley media specialist. “There is a tremendous influx of people from all across the nation and other organizations coming to help the people in the Rio Grande Valley.”
A Disaster Recovery Center is a readily accessible facility where flood victims may go for information about programs or other disaster assistance programs, and to ask questions related to specific cases.
The center in La Feria will be open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice.
“This area was severely affected by the floods and we’re here to help as many people as we can,” said Corey Williams, SBA Loans public information officer.
In La Feria there were some areas where streets were under water for 36 hours or more, and the rest of the city suffered some flooding for 24 hours.
“When we found out that they were looking for sites, we did not hesitate to offer them the domes,” said Jaime Sandoval, La Feria city manager.
Because the city has two domes, that allowed FEMA to take advantage of the city resources while the city still had a fallback location with its second dome shelter in case of a future storm.
Sandoval said any businesses that were closed during the disaster and suffered any loss can come in and fill out an application with SBA and see if they qualify.
Officials emphasized area residents looking for assistance from either Cameron or Hidalgo counties can visit any of the FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in the Valley.
“Homeowners can apply for up to $40,000 to repair and replace their personal property and up to $200,000 to replace or repair real estate,” Williams said. “We encourage residents to come into the disaster recovery center in La Feria for one-on-one assistance.”
Deadline to apply for Disaster Recovery loans with the Small Business Administration Renters and Homeowners
Sept. 4, 2018
Business owners needing working capital deadline
April 8, 2019
Some of the services at the disaster recovery center may include:
• Guidance regarding disaster recovery
• Clarification of any written correspondence received
• Housing Assistance and Rental Resource information
• Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance
• Status of applications being processed by FEMA
• SBA program information if there is an SBA Representative at the Disaster Recovery Center site
• Crisis Counseling Program
• Disaster Legal Services
• Disaster Unemployment
• Funeral Assistance – Individuals and Households Program FEMA
Disaster Recovery Center area locations Cameron County
City of La Feria Safe Dome 1001 Pancho Maples Drive
City of Weslaco Economic Development Center 275 South Kansas Ave.
City of Mission Social Event Center 155 South Mayberry Road