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Homeowners across Montgomery County who lost their homes or suffered other financial losses from the floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey – but did not carry flood insurance – appear to be close to getting some welcome financial help from the federal government.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, told The Courier Tuesday evening that after a late afternoon meeting with President Donald Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott in Austin, both are supporting his request for a federal disaster declaration for Montgomery County, which was left off initial declarations.

Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other serious disaster-related expenses, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency FAQ.

If approved almost immediately, as expected, residents of Montgomery, San Jacinto, Grimes and Walker counties would be able to sign up for what Brady described as "relief and recovery." Officials were working out the details late Tuesday, with final approval of the additional funding expected within days or less.

"We're very close," Brady said.

Brady, speaking to The Courier by cell phone as he drove back to The Woodlands, said once the declaration is approved, people could sign up immediately.

"I'm confident we will far exceed FEMA's (previous) declaration," Brady said of the expected financial help.

Once the declaration is approved, people who have lost their homes or suffered other financial losses could go online to seek financial assistance. Under the plan there would be "immediate relief" for people who need help in finding a place to live and other expenses , while there would also be financial assistance for people who had no flood insurance, or were not completely covered by flood insurance.

The news will no doubt come as welcome relief for the scores of people across the county who have lost their homes, or had them severely damaged, by the floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey.

The damage from the historic rainfall levels – measured in feet, not inches – has been widespread throughout the region, as well as locally, with Conroe's McDade Estates and the River Plantation area seeing some of the worst destruction in the county.

County Judge Craig Doyal initiated this important process late last week when he declared the county a disaster and urged Abbott to do the same prior to Hurricane Harvey striking the coast in anticipation of the damage expected in the area. Abbott, who initially left Montgomery County off the initial list of 30 counties, added Montgomery County along with 19 others over the weekend. The governor has since added a few more.

In response to Abbott's initial declaration, President Trump issued a disaster declaration for Texas a few days ago that has included a handful of counties.

According to Darren Hess, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management coordinator, around 800 homes not carrying flood insurance would need to be damaged to get the federal disaster, and he believes the county will easily exceed that considering the massive flooding in areas that have not taken on water before.

Doyal has been very proactive in getting Montgomery County on the funding map after natural disasters, including the major storms and flooding in May 2015, April and May 2016.

CLICK HERE for the story in the Courier of Montgomery County.


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