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Texas federal flood assistance

HOUSTON – The storms that hit many Houston area homeowners caused major damage. Now flood victims in hardest-hit areas simply want to talk to a Federal Emergency Management Agency official about how to properly ask for federal flood assistance.

At 7 p.m. Monday, FEMA officials will answer questions and concerns at a town hall meeting hosted by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, 5601 S. Braeswood.  It will be open to all victims of the recent flooding.

Shelly Autin lives in Meyerland, one of the hardest-hit communities. She plans on attending the town hall meeting.

“I want to really know what they’re going to do because we have obviously have never been through this and so we want to know what we need to do and what they’re going to provide,” Autin said.

For the past week Autin along with other residents have been throwing most of their furniture to the curb.  Everything is so damaged by flood waters it has to get thrown out.

“Our entire home was flooded with about 18 inches of water,” Autin said.

Dr. Pinky Ronen of Meyerland is another victim affected by the historic flooding.

Every room of his home underwent thousands of dollars of destruction: an all-white, leather sectional ruined, a $12,000 antique cabinet wrecked and his newly re-modeled kitchen is a total loss.

“We’ve sort of have been in denial. With the water rising on early Tuesday, we just only (watched) the level climb higher and higher, and the water outside was higher than inside, so we knew there was much more coming”, Ronen said.

The flood waters woke Ronen at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday as they tore through his five bedroom, 4,000-square-foot home. Many irreplaceable items were destroyed.

Now like hundreds of other flood victims, Ronen is looking for help and information from FEMA officials.

But how do you go about getting it?

Step One: Call FEMA and register for disaster relief at 1-800-621-3362. Or register online atwww.DisasterAssistance.gov. You will need your Social Security numbers of all family members residing in house, insurance information, tax return with total household annual income and description of your losses. If you want disaster funds transferred directly to your bank account, you’ll need the routing number and account number.

Step Two: Ask for a FEMA Disaster Inspection. A FEMA inspector should be dispatched to your home within a week, according to FEMA.

Step Three: Wait. FEMA says if your inspection shows you have uninsured, eligible, damage then they can issue you a relief check in as little as two to five days after your inspection has been completed.

Be sure to document your damage using a digital camera or cell phone. Clean our your home and place all debris between the sidewalk and street for collection.

More information from the city of Houston is available at www.houstontx.gov/emergency.

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