FEMA helping La Grange residents with resources

Now that Tropical Storm Harvey has come and gone, many communities are starting over.

In La Grange, residents are hoping to build back what was lost. But, they aren't in this alone.

FEMA set up a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in La Grange over a week ago. Hundreds of people have stopped by, which is why they'll continue to stay open seven days a week.

It's not easy for La Grange resident Brenda Smith to ask for help since it's acknowledging her current situation, that she practically lost everything.

"Not knowing where you're going to live. I mean, I don't want to stay with my folks forever but you know, there's no housing available here. You've got people without homes. It's difficult," said Brenda Smith, La Grange resident, evacuee.

It's a sentiment that can be felt across the city of La Grange. More than 250 residential structures suffered some type of damage from Tropical Storm Harvey. As a result, hundreds were displaced.

FEMA said 528 Fayette County residents have already registered for disaster assistance. Many have stopped by the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) located at the Randolph Recreation Center.

FEMA has been mostly handling housing needs through their Transitional Shelter Assistance (TAC) program. Those who qualify get set up in a hotel room. They also help with critical and personal needs. Smith and her daughter just got their first check.

"Right now, it's a beginning and it's a start. We're just blessed to have it," said Smith.

FEMA also works with other agencies. They've been referring people to the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is set up at the same location. There are several different loan options people can apply for.

"Personal property loans for homeowners and renters. It's up to 40,000 and that's to replace the contents of the home. your cars, anything that was damaged by the flood," said Laurie Dana, public affairs specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration.

FOX 7 also saw the Salvation Army stopping by in their mobile unit. They are hoping that even providing something small, can brighten someone's day.

"We're also very deeply affected personally by all this. It gives us a feeling of personal satisfaction to be able to help people," says Frank Wells, volunteer, Williamson County Salvation Army.

"I think La Grange has been blessed. Lives were spared here and, this community has had people from all over the world come and help us. I don't think we've been overlooked by any means; we've been blessed," says Smith.

La Grange had a city council meeting on Monday. They were planning to talk about recovery efforts including removal of debris and possibly waiving building permit and associated construction fees.

For more information: www.fema.gov.