Governor Greg Abbott announced on March 17, 2023, that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved a request from the State of Texas for a disaster declaration in communities affected by tornadoes in Southeast Texas on January 24. Counties included in the declaration are Harris, Orange, and their contiguous counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Newton, and Waller.
“This disaster declaration is an important step in helping Texans and Texas communities impacted by January’s severe weather and tornados continue to recover,” said Governor Abbott. “I thank the Texas Division of Emergency Management for working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to determine that eligibility requirements were met for Harris, Orange, and surrounding counties. The State of Texas will continue working nonstop to help homeowners and businesses receive the support needed to rebuild and recover from storm damage.”
With this approval, the SBA granted access to its Physical Disaster Loan program for homes and businesses, as well as its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
Local, state, and federal officials conducted an analysis of damage sustained in Southeast Texas, which verifies that Harris and Orange counties meet the federally required thresholds for SBA assistance. Officials also reviewed disaster damage information self-reported by Texans through Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) surveys.
This week, the Governor directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to request a disaster declaration from the SBA after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Texas’ request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Last month, the Governor requested President Biden declare a major disaster for the State of Texas in response to the severe weather that impacted Southeast Texas, which would have provided several types of federal resources to the residents of designated counties.
On January 26, Governor Abbott issued a disaster declaration for impacted communities in Southeast Texas that suffered damage to homes and businesses. The Governor updated the declaration on January 30 to include additional affected counties. At the Governor’s direction, beginning January 23 and throughout the severe weather event, TDEM deployed state emergency response personnel to provide support to local jurisdictions and conduct preliminary damage assessments in coordination with local officials.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance.