Severe weather: Gov. Abbott requests SBA disaster relief after he says FEMA denied assistance
HOUSTON - Following severe weather in Southeast Texas, Governor Abbott asks for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue disaster loans for communities.
On Friday, Gov. Abbott announced he went to the Texas Division of Emergency Management to request a disaster declaration from the SBA for communities in Southeast Texas impacted by the severe weather and tornadoes. The declaration with SBA would make federal assistance available in the form of disaster loans for Harris, Orange, and surrounding counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reportedly denied the state's request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration on Wednesday.
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"While we are disappointed in the Biden Administration’s decision not to support communities impacted by severe weather with FEMA assistance, the State of Texas will continue to exhaust all available options to support our fellow Texans in need," said Governor Abbott.
"I urge the SBA to provide disaster loans for these impacted communities, and I thank TDEM for working to determine the state’s eligibility for assistance. There is no force more powerful than Texans helping Texans, and together we will continue to support those needing assistance so they can recover and move forward," Governor Abbott added.
If Abbott's request to SBA is approved, the agency's disaster program would give low-interest loans to Texans whose homes and businesses sustained damage during the severe weather.
Abbott also requested the president declare a major disaster for Texas last month in February in response to previous severe weather that impacted Southeast Texas from January 23-25. The relief would have provided several different federal resources to Texans in designated counties.
An analysis was done by local, state, and federal officials on the damage in the region and confirmed Harris and Orange counties met the federally required threshold to receive SBA assistance.
Officials say they also reviewed disaster damage information self-reported by Texans through Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) surveys.