AUSTIN, TEXAS: Texans who have a disability or access need and sustained damage or losses from the May storms and flooding may face challenges, but registering for federal aid shouldn’t be one of them.
“We reach out to the entire community,” said Federal Coordinating Officer William J. Doran III, who is in charge of FEMA’s operations in Texas. “And FEMA works with our partners to make sure that everybody can get access to disaster assistance information, programs and registration.”
FEMA’s disaster recovery centers – locations where survivors can meet face-to-face with various agencies and service providers – accommodate the needs of the entire community, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
The centers meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards; have assistive technology equipment that allows disaster survivors to use amplified telephones; phones that display text; amplified listening devices for people with hearing disabilities; and magnifiers for people with vision disabilities.
Some disaster recovery centers use a video relay service available to people who use American Sign Language, allowing them to communicate through an interpreter when registering for disaster assistance. Others make an ASL translator available at the center. In addition, language applications are used for translation.
Federal assistance is available to eligible individuals and households in Austin, Bastrop, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Eastland, Fort Bend, Grimes, Hidalgo, Hood, Lee, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Stephens, Travis, Tyler, Waller and Washington counties. To find the nearest disaster recovery center, go online to asd.fema.gov/inter/locator.
In addition to accommodating people with disabilities or access needs, FEMA also reaches out to people with limited English proficiency by providing multilingual operators, making printed literature available in multiple languages and having translators available in the field. Printed materials are available in accessible formats such as Braille and large print.
Texans can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
For more information on the Texas recovery, visit the disaster webpage for the May storms at fema.gov/disaster/4272; or visit the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at txdps.state.tx.us/dem. Follow us on Twitter @femaregion6.