Biden Approves Texas Disaster Declaration

The White House announced Saturday President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Texas and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms beginning on Feb. 11.

The president’s action makes federal funding available to those affected in about 77 counties, including Dallas. 

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the winter storm.

Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a Saturday morning tweet praised the Biden administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the quick response.

Biden called Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday night to discuss the federal response to the state’s weather woes, a readout of the call from the White House revealed.

Abbott requested a disaster declaration Thursday for each of the state’s 254 counties.

Abbott’s office says the Biden administration approved the request for individual assistance in 77 counties and for public assistance (emergency protective measures only) in all 254 counties.

Abbott’s office says they and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will continue to work to ensure the federal government provides appropriate assistance to individual Texans as well as to the state and local governments.

“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” said Abbott. “While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need. The funds provided under the Major Disaster Declaration may provide crucial assistance to Texans as they begin to repair their homes and address property damage.”

People and business owners included in the president’s declaration who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-758

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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