FEMA, local relief coming for home repairs after storm

New local and FEMA assistance is coming available to help many Houston-area families living without water and in homes that are severely damaged by burst pipes from last week's winter storm.

"You have tenants living in your house with no water, we have families," said Amber Neiderhofer. 

Neiderhofer has four boys, ages 6, 4, and two 2-year-olds.  Running water, zero.

"It's really hard to be a mother and have your kids go through something like this and it's really traumatic," she said.  "It's just bad, they can't even wash their hands."

Neiderhofer says nearly every pipe in her rental home burst. They've tried to repair some without much luck.  

"It's literally cracked, it's still water," she showed us one of her pipes. "There's nothing else I can do, we don't have anywhere else we can go," she said.

President Biden signed a major disaster declaration, but only 108 of Texas' 254 counties are included. Those in the 108 counties can begin applying for FEMA aid for lodging, repairs, and low-interest loans for uninsured property losses.

To apply for FEMA aid, call (800) 621-3362 or go to DisasterAssistance.gov.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management is asking residents and businesses to report any damage to properties through this survey to try to secure more federal relief.


Mayor, County Judge establish Houston-Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund

This fund will focus on meeting the needs of families who need additional help to recover, supporting nonprofits who can help with plumbing and home repairs, temporary housing, and other basic needs relief.

Mayor Sylvester Turner is urging people and businesses to donate to a new City of Houston and Harris County joint Winter Storm Relief Fund to provide repairs and aid to people who don't receive FEMA or other aid. It will be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the United Way.        

Until the Winter Storm Relief Fund is ready, people can text #HoustonFreeze to 898211 to sign up for information, or call 211, the United Way Helpline, for assistance right away. 
"We're all in this together, and we'll figure it out together, and we'll come together as a community to assist you and so many others that find themselves in similar situations," said Turner at a press conference.

Neiderhofer says she applied for FEMA help on Sunday, but the wait is hard. 

"It's just hard," she said in tears.

Neiderhofer says she's asked her landlord for repairs, but so far, none are booked.  She says she hasn't been able to reach him since. We reached out to the landlord but haven't heard back yet.


Thousands of Houstonians still have water in their homes after pipes burst last week

Still trying to dry out and recover after days of freezing temperatures caused pipes to burst in thousands of Houston area homes.