Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney called a meeting with FEMA and Small Business Association Wednesday afternoon hoping to get clarification on loans and hotel vouchers after Coastal Bend residents have reported they are being turned down or are confused about the entire process.
When Hurricane Harvey hit residents figured the recovery period would be a long time but what people didn't think about is how long it would take to get long-term relief, around $28,000 individuals are waiting to get loans or assistance from FEMA.
Commissioner Chesney wrote the concerns down from the residents and brought them to the discussion with FEMA and SBA.
"Ladies and gentlemen you're welcome to come up and talk to us, " SBA and FEMA representatives reassured residents that they're here to help and get people the assistance they need but that process takes time - in just one day 20 people are processed and approved for a loan.
"That's how the system works we have to help one person, one family, one business at a time, and that process to cover something as widespread as Hurricane Harvey will take time," said Bobby Petty SBA Director. Petty also adds how they are giving aid to both business and homeowners, but they first might apply with FEMA.
"The next step is if they get turned down by the Small Business Administration, they then need to go back to FEMA, and most people need to understand the SBA was set up by Congress almost as a gatekeeper to ensure that there's not abuse in the system," said Petty, $30 million of $1.8 billion in loan money has been set aside for Nueces County and the deadline to apply is November 24th.
"The terms are up to 30 years to repay the loan, one-year deferment, the interest rate for homeowners is %1.75."
After being displaced and receiving help from FEMA, the manager of FEMA hotel in Port Aransas, Mary Slag, has been helping her residents with more than putting a roof over their heads.
"I've let everyone know if you need a question asked to let me be your voice I'll do anything I can to help you guys out," said Salg as she has been on-call day and night.
Salg has been hearing concerns from the individuals staying at the resort and worried they wouldn't have a voucher extended or be able to pay her a weekly fee.
"It's desperation and anxiety are a huge part of this right now, I'm still helping them, anything they need I am trying to do," said Salg even though there's a lot of people in need of help.
November 24 is the last day to apply for aid and residents can do so by phone or at a disaster recovery center. Individuals who are staying in FEMA hotels, November 7 is the midterm eligibility review.
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