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HARVEY: Texas Governor Responds to Ongoing Devastation

shutterstock_493989382.jpg Texas Governor Greg Abbott has expanded his state disaster declaration to include 20 additional Texas counties in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, effective August 26. To view Governor Abbott’s updated proclamation, click here.

"The addition of these counties to the state disaster declaration will continue to allow Texas to quickly deploy all available resources to those affected by this devastating storm," said Governor Abbott. "Hurricane Harvey has had a catastrophic impact on Texans and their property, and this declaration will help them rebuild and recover. The state will continue to provide as much aid as possible to these communities that have already lost so much."

View the updated county ZIP code list by clicking here.

Please note that this declaration is independent of any FEMA Declared Disaster.

Once the storm comes to its end CoreLogic, a global property information provider, estimates that Harvey will cost between $1 billion and $2 billion worth of insured property losses for both residential and commercial properties.

In response, Fannie Mae is reminding homeowners that mortgage assistant options for the Gulf Coast area will be an option. Under Fannie Mae’s single-family mortgages, servicers have the ability to grant an initial period of forbearance to any borrower they believe has been affected by this natural disaster.

“At this time it is important for those in the path of the storm to focus on their safety as they deal with the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey,” said Carlos Perez, SVP and Chief Credit Officer at Fannie Mae.

Freddie Mac's disaster relief options will also be available to borrowers with homes in presidentially declared Major Disaster Areas where federal Individual Assistance programs are made available to affected individuals and households. Until then, servicers may leverage Freddie Mac's forbearance programs to provide immediate mortgage relief to borrowers affected by the storm.

"We strongly encourage the many American families whose homes or businesses are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey to call their mortgage servicer if the Federal Emergency Management Agency's declaration is announced," said Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac's Vice President of Single-Family Servicer Performance Management. "Relief—including forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year—may be available if their mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac."

FEMA issued an update on August 27 to a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for areas in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey beginning August 23 and continuing.

Click here to view the updated ZIP Code List from FEMA Declared Disaster for Texas.

FEMA.gov has also updated its list of safety procedures:

  • Continue to listen to local officials.
  • Only call 911 for immediate medical attention or evacuation assistance. If you can't get through to 911 on the first try, keep calling.
  • If in a high-rise building and need to shelter in place, go to the first or second-floor hallways or interior rooms. Stay on floors above floodwater or storm surge, but do not go to the highest floors due to wind impacts.
  • If under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the center of a small interior room (closet, interior hallway) on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.

HUD is also keeping updates via Twitter.com (@HUDgov) urging residents to continue to follow directions from local officials FEMA safety guidelines.


About Author: Nicole Casperson

Nicole Casperson is the Associate Editor of DS News and MReport. She graduated from Texas Tech University where she received her M.A. in Mass Communications and her B.A. in Journalism. Casperson previously worked as a graduate teaching instructor at Texas Tech's College of Media and Communications. Her thesis will be published by the International Communication Association this fall. To contact Casperson, e-mail: [email protected].

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