The prolonged winter storm last week has created a substantial and unexpected financial burden on almost all Texans, including residents of Farmers Branch. Water line and home repairs, hotel bills and larger-than-average grocery bills have all resulted from the relentless cold weather, power outages and food and water shortages across the state.
To alleviate at least some of the financial burden, the federal and state governments have established emergency relief funds for individual homeowners in the form of grants and loans for those Texans who sustained damage due to the storm. President Joe Biden on Saturday approved a major disaster declaration that allows homeowners and renters in 77 counties (including Dallas) to apply for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA also has legal, unemployment and case management assistance available.
Homeowners in this category should also expedite insurance claims based on their homeowners insurance policies. The State has also been authorized to allow SNAP benefits to be used to purchase hot foods and/or replacement food items for those destroyed by the winter storm. In addition, water and food supplies, job placement, temporary housing and other assistance is available to those in need through Metrocrest Services.
Residents should also exercise caution due to the increased contractor fraud. Check references and only make final payments when work is done in full. Avoid contractors who promise rebates and never sign a contract that is incomplete or has blank spaces. Farmers Branch has waived City plumbing permit fees until March 15 and will accommodate virtual inspections when possible.
Clearly, the information and recovery can be overwhelming. All of the available resources for Farmers Branch residents can be found here
Basically, Farmers Branch homeowners with substantial damage should:
- File a claim for any substantial damage with the relevant homeowners insurance policy. For assistance, contact the Texas Department of Insurance online or at 800.252.3439.
- Contact FEMA at disasterassistance.gov online or at 800.621.3362 (TTY: 800.462.7585). The lines will be in operation seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Complete the Texas Self-Reporting Damage Survey to identify the extent of the damage you have sustained. This will be compiled on a statewide basis to determine the amount of Federal aid Texas will receive.
Please check the City website, social media sites and our cable access channel for all up-to-date information.