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More federal aid available in McLennan County after winter storm

More federal aid available in McLennan County after winter storm

From the Winter storm in Waco, across Texas: February 2021 series
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More federal aid is available for McLennan County residents struck by the winter storm that blanketed Texas in ice last week, as well as for renters still struggling financially because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Under a federal disaster declaration, residents in dozens of Texas counties are protected from foreclosure on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and eligible to apply for FHA mortgage insurance and FHA-backed financing if their home needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Information about the assistance can be found at https://www.hud.gov/info/disasterresources, by calling the FHA Resource Center at 800-304-9320 or by emailing recovery@hud.gov.

Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance also may be available to help renters and homeowners pay for needs not covered by insurance. People needing to make repairs should file claims with their insurance companies before seeking disaster assistance, FEMA spokesperson Earl Armstrong said. Registration for individuals can be found at https://www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Small Business Administration disaster relief loans with low interest rates also may be available. More information can be found at https://disasterloan assistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ or by calling 1-800-659-2955.

City COVID-19 rental relief

The city of Waco, meanwhile, recently launched a second COVID-19 rental relief fund, this time for all of McLennan County instead of just Waco. The updated program is funded by a federal grant.

An overview of the rental assistance program can be found at https://covidwaco.com/rental-assistance/. To qualify, applicants must come from households making no more than 50% of the area’s median. Applicants can also qualify if one person in the household has been unemployed for at least 90 days or if their place of employment is closed or off-limits because of COVID-19.

The city housing department’s first disaster relief program only applied to Waco and drew several hundred applications, said Michael Stickly, a team leader on the program for the city.

“It is a different funding source and it is a lot more user-friendly,” Stickly said of the new program. “I know people had issues with the first one. It just wasn’t very streamlined.”

He said applicants need to have some proof of hardship, which could include a layoff or furlough notice or other documents.

“My supervisor and her boss worked pretty hard the last several weeks to get this program up and running from a new grant funding source we received,” Stickly said.

The Small Business Administration has loans of up to $200,000 for individuals and can be reached at 1-800-659-2955 or https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/.

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