FEMA begins touring tornado-ravaged Dallas County in Garland

Inspectors with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are touring hard-hit parts of Dallas County following the tornado outbreak.

FEMA inspectors were in Garland on Monday and plan to be in Richardson on Tuesday. They’ll finish the week touring the city of Dallas. They are in North Texas to help cover uninsured losses, but certain thresholds have to be met in order to qualify.

Misty Allen-Guinn and Ashley Davis set up shop in the driveway of a badly damaged home close to the people who need it most: those recovering after the storm and those there to assist.

“They need to move on with their lives, but they can’t if they don’t have the bare necessities,” Allen-Guinn said.

The Ladies of Garland Facebook group stepped in while many wait to learn if federal assistance is on the way. Dallas County must first meet a threshold of $38.4 million of uninsured losses.

“A lot of damage at the schools, the uninsured portion of that is probably around $2 million,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “So we’ve got to get that number up, and that opens up federal money through a presidential declaration that can get us public assistance dollars.”

The county is likely to get reimbursed for damage to street lights, infrastructure and public buildings. They are expenses not covered by insurance.


If federal dollars don’t come through for private businesses, Judge Jenkins has a backup plan.

“I expect that we will open up small business administration loans. These are low interest and no-interest loans,” he explained. “We should meet that threshold pretty quickly. It may be the beginning of next week for the paperwork.”

But when it comes to uninsured individuals who’ve suffered major loss, assistance for them may be harder to come by.

“Most of these houses are rent houses, and a lot of them don’t have renter’s insurance,” Davis said. “So it’s devastating to see everything that they have. If it wasn’t blown away, it’s water damage. So everything is gone.”

“It’s looking like we may not meet the federal requirements for individual assistance for homeowners,” Jenkins said. “We are working as hard as we can to see what we can get available to you.”

People in need are being sent to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Midway and Richardson Senior Center.