TO: United Methodist Churches in Texas and Louisiana
FROM: UMCOR and The Texas Annual Conference

As we respond in the name of Jesus Christ, reaching out with our Wesleyan principle of sensitive compassion as our banner, we have important information to share to church families and neighbors who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Please consider walking through the neighborhoods you have the capacity to reach, after gathering for a Volunteer Navigators preliminary training. You could help prevent despair by making visits that prevent survivors from making errors that will impact their recovery.

IMPORTANT MESSAGES

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is well known for its quick response to those who register for help. Please help message to survivors to read carefully what the money is to be used for and be sure it isn’t spent inappropriately. FEMA may recoup funds that are misspent.

Advise everyone to read the FEMA Rumor page to help dispel false information. FEMA Rumor Page

Pay careful attention to information about the Small Business Administration disaster loan offered to FEMA registrants. Those who do not complete the application may disqualify themselves for additional grant money. Please apply…even if you don’t want a loan.

Advise everyone to keep receipts. DO NOT make repairs until homes are dry and clear of mold. Take pictures of damage before making repairs.

Remind survivors NOT to do business with solicitors at the door. Give NO ONE money without first verifying their credentials, license to work and performance bond (insurance). Check references before hiring.

FEMA registrants should create a personal account on https://www.disasterassistance.gov for excellent information about their application. They can also call FEMA (1-800-621-FEMA) for answers about their application for assistance.

UMCOR is partnering with the United Methodist Conferences (Rio Texas, Texas, Central Texas and Louisiana) to offer guidance, training, mentoring and funding support for the long and difficult recovery going forward. In order to offer your conference assistance, please go to the website to connect with your disaster response leadership. In times such as these, YOU are UMCOR on the ground.

The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a–year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

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