Over the weekend, Hurricane Harvey devastated sections of Texas. It decimated many homes and businesses, and affected hundreds of thousands of residents. Even though it’s no longer a hurricane, the region is still reeling from massive flooding. Current analyses show reconstruction efforts could cost $40 billion, and it could take years to rebuild.
Harvey was the first category four hurricane to hit Texas since 1961, so many victims of the storm are likely unaware of how the disaster recovery process works or where to start. If you’ve been affected by Hurricane Harvey, here’s what you can do to get the immediate and longer-term assistance you need.
Emergency food and housing
With the storm’s impact, you might not have had much time to evacuate. You may have left with just the clothes on your back and no food or water. With heavy flooding, you might not be able to return to your home, or your home may be too heavily damaged to enter.
If you need help accessing essentials, call or email the 2-1-1 helpline. They can direct you to organizations and shelters offering food, temporary housing, and clothing. The helpline is available 24/7, and the call center staff are fluent in several different languages.
President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for Harvey, so you can apply for long-term aid designed to help you get back on your feet and rebuild.
If you live in one of the following counties, you may be eligible for individual assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Wharton.
Individual and public assistance dollars are being collected, but are not yet available. FEMA updates the Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery page every 24 hours, so it’s a good idea to check back.
When the money is available, go through the application process and complete the questionnaire on DisasterAssistance.gov for additional aid. Your answers will be essential in identifying aid you might be eligible for, including grants, low-interest loans, temporary housing, and other assistance. Once complete, the site will issue you a PIN so you can log into your account. If you’d prefer to apply over the phone, call 1-800-621-FEMA.
You will need the following information to complete the application:
- Social Security number
- Insurance information (if applicable)
- Damage information
- Pre-tax household income at the time the storm hit
- Contact information
- Direct deposit bank information, including your account and routing numbers
To track your application’s status, log into your account or call the FEMA helpline. Because this is such a widespread disaster, it might take a few days to process your application.
Other disaster recovery to-dos
After taking care of your immediate needs and applying for FEMA aid, there are other things you need to do to help your family recover:
- Remove valuables. If your home is safe to enter and accessible, remove any valuables from the home.
- Take pictures. If possible, take pictures of any destruction, such as damage to your roof or flooding on the first floor.
- Create an inventory. List any items in your home that need to be replaced. The list should include items beyond electronics and valuables. Consider everyday items — bedding, clothing, and kitchen supplies.
- Contact your insurance company. Depending on your policy, your insurer might cover living expenses, such as staying at a hotel and meals. If you had storm or flood coverage, submit a claim for any damage done to your home or vehicle. It’s worth contacting your insurance company even if you didn’t have a specific flood policy. Some insurers will still cover part of the damage.
Moving forward after Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey had a devastating effect on hundreds of thousands of people, and disaster recovery efforts will likely last for several years. To protect you and your family and begin the rebuilding process, contact local organizations and FEMA as soon as possible to get all the assistance to which you’re entitled.
If you were not affected by the storm but would like to help victims of Harvey, please consider donating to the American Red Cross.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|