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Federal government offers financial help for flood victims

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HOUSTON – More than 3,600 homes across Harris County have flooded.

If you’re among the victims looking for federal financial assistance, the first thing you have to do is register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

The federal government is offering help mainly in the form of loan and grant programs.

“If you're a home owner or business owner you can qualify for very low interest loans to rebuild,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

Here’s the breakdown for homeowners:

  • up to a $200,000 loan on losses on your primary residence
  • $40,000 for personal property

You will only receive money from the federal government for damaged property that’s uninsured. In addition to repairs, the FEMA money can also be used for things like medical, dental and funeral expenses.

If your home is unlivable, FEMA could cover up to three month’s rent. For renters, it’s at least one month.

Some of the available grants are income based. Small business owners could be eligible for loans up to $2 million. It’s up to $500,000 for farmers and ranchers.

“That's why FEMA has to get here to find out what people are eligible for,” Emmett said.

FEMA personnel will arrive in Houston in the coming days to set up store-front type recovery centers and mobile centers in some of the hardest hit areas.