Harvey victims in limbo as they wait for FEMA assistance

FEMA says about 700,000 people affected by Harvey have applied for assistance.

HOUSTON - FEMA, the nation’s disaster agency, reports about 700,000 applications have already been submitted by people affected by Harvey.

FEMA reports 40 percent of those applications, 280,000, were filled out by people living within the Houston area. A bulk of them are still pending, with FEMA not yet making a decision on how much help each applicant will receive, if any.

Florence Jones is a 74-year old woman who lives in east Houston. Her home was gutted after water flooded the interior.

It’s been about two weeks since Houston was under water. Jones is just now filing for FEMA assistance.

“I was at the hospital with my daughter. She had brain surgery,” Jones said before she detailed that also within the two weeks her brother died. “We want to have a memorial service for him in New Orleans, but we haven’t had a chance to do that yet.”

Jones said she lost everything.

“Any kind of assistance. I have to start all over,” Jones said.

A trio of FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers opened today: Greenspoint Mall, Katy Mills Mall and Baytown Community Center. They’re each open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice.

“Pretty much anyone who is living in the affected area has the right, has the ability to come in and seek assistance, whether it’s a loss of car, a job, a legal issue,” said Paul Timmons on behalf of FEMA.

“Well, everything is pending right now, but they’re going to call. They have three phone numbers to call,” Jones said.

Timmons says every case is different, and folks shouldn’t wait or call for an email. They should reach out and keep reaching out.

“I’m hoping they’ll be able to help all of us,” Jones said.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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