A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center now open in La Feria, located near the Sports Complex. The site is one of four servicing the Rio Grande Valley.
They’re calling them one stop shops where residents can get help from various agencies after suffering damage in the recent floods.
Robin Smith FEMA Public Affairs says, “There is definitely more agency than just FEMA down here. We’ve got the SBA, the Texas Department of Insurance is here. There are a wide variety of agencies down here including Legal Aid.”
This week Valley Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez, Filemon Vela, and Henry Cuellar are requesting Spanish speaking FEMA Representatives. In a letter stating, “It is our understanding that the Disaster Recovery Centers do in fact have Spanish speaking FEMA Representatives, we have also received complaints that other FEMA representatives do not speak Spanish.”
Benjamín Torres, FEMA Emergency Management says, “Yes, we are here. We have agents that speak both Spanish and English. They’re going to be here from 7 AM to 7 PM, 7 days a week.”
Disaster Recovery Centers like the one in La Feria are here to help the public. Then we wondered, could an illegal immigrant apply for Federal Assistance? Short answer is yes, but not directly.
“One of the requirements for FEMA assistance, federal assistance is that you must have a Social Security Number. If they have a minor in the household or just anybody that has an SSN, that lives in the household with them, they can apply that way.”
For clarification, applying for assistance and receiving it are separate issues. FEMA is here to help American communities and its residents, that may or may not include a household where there’s an individual without a Social Security Number.
In the case where someone does not have a Social Security Number, then that person is co-applying. The main applicant would be the legal citizen.
Those seeking assistance may visit any recovery center across the Rio Grande Valley. Applications can also be filed online at DisasterAssistance.gov.