Applying for Federal Disaster Assistance in Texas

Arts organizations and cultural institutions that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey may be eligible for Federal assistance via:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans

If your institution is affiliated with a government agency, such as a state university or a county or municipality, you should communicate with that agency regarding your damage and any expenditures (overtime of personnel, purchases, etc.) to protect your facilities. The information below doesn’t necessarily apply to your institution because your expenditures will be included as part of your government agency – but only if it is aware of your damage.

In a Nutshell: File, File, File

  1. File a claim with your insurance company immediately. Follow all the deadlines set by the insurance company, and submit all documents and information requested within the deadlines set by the company. FEMA will want to see a settlement or denial letter from your insurance company to ensure that benefits are not duplicated, so be sure to file an insurance claim promptly. If you still have unmet needs or damages that the insurance company does not cover, then FEMA may be able to provide you with assistance.
  2. File for FEMA Public Assistance. Don’t dither about your eligibility; let FEMA determine your status. Be aware of the filing deadline. If you miss the deadline, which varies based on your county disaster declaration date, you will not have access to this federal disaster assistance. (See this PowerPoint for deadline dates.)
  3. File for a Small Business Administration disaster loan as well. Complete and submit the application as soon as possible. Returning the application does not obligate you to accept an SBA loan, but it is a necessary step to being considered for other forms of federal disaster assistance, including FEMA Public Assistance.

FEMA Public Assistance

If you are private nonprofit organization unaffiliated with any government agency, apply for FEMA Public Assistance (PA) and an SBA disaster loan.

Only certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations are eligible under FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program. To be an eligible applicant, the PNP must show that it has:

  • A current ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service granting tax exemption under sections 501(c), (d), or (e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or
  • Documentation from the State substantiating it is a non-revenue producing, nonprofit entity organized or doing business under State law.

Additionally, for a facility to be eligible, the PNP must own or operate the facility and provide a service that is:

  • Critical in nature (e.g., education, utility, emergency, or medical); or
  • A non-critical facility that provides an essential government service AND is open to the public.

For more information on eligibility of PNPs, refer to the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide at

Applicant Briefing

The Applicant Briefing provides a high-level overview of the Public Assistance (PA) Program. The topics it normally covers include:  

  • Application procedures
  • Project funding
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Administrative requirements
  • Procurement requirements
  • Environmental and historic preservation (EHP) compliance requirements
  • General eligibility criteria
  • Documentation requirements
  • Recordkeeping

See the Applicant Briefing confirmation memo, along with the Applicant Briefing PPT. Note: You do not have to attend an Applicant Briefing in order to file a Request for Public Assistance. Additional briefings will be conducted once additional counties are included in the declaration. (Dates to be determined.) Complete the forms and submit them at any time prior to the deadline for your county.

The following forms must accompany your application:

Applicants should send their RPA to:

A new deadline has been set for submitting Requests for Public Assistance (RPAs). The new deadline is 5:00 pm Central, Tuesday, October 31, 2017. This deadline supersedes the later deadlines of November 22, December 14 and December 17.

For questions about Public Assistance, please contact:

Karen Beard
Recovery Officer
Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM)
Texas Homeland Security
Texas Department of Public Safety
O: (512) 242-7822
F:  (512) 424-2424

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program 

Non-Critical PNPs – most arts organizations and cultural institutions – must first apply to the Small Business Administration for disaster assistance. If denied by SBA or if your costs exceed what SBA covers, then FEMA may be able to provide you with assistance.

There are several types of loan programs available to private nonprofits. They include:

Types of Loans



Maximum Amount

Business Loans “Physical”

Businesses and private

Repair or replace real estate, equipment, furniture, etc.

$2 million

Economic Injury Loans

Small businesses & private

Economic injury disaster loans or working capital loans

$2 million


Businesses, private
nonprofits and homeowners.

Mitigate / prevent future loss to real property

20% of verified physical damage. Homeowners limited to $200,000.

  • Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
  • Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.
  • Economic Injury Loans are also available for businesses that did not receive physical damage but were economically impacted due to the disaster.
  • Interest rates are as low as 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
  • SBA has opened five Business Recovery Centers. SBA representatives can meet with business owners to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help them complete their Electronic Loan Application. SBA staffs the Business Recovery Center with representatives from the Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center and SCORE to offer free financial counseling advice to business owners.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends unless otherwise noted. The property damage application deadline is Oct. 24, 2017. The deadline to apply for economic injury is May 25, 2018.


BRC Location


Women’s Club of Aransas County, 1104 Concho St., Rockport, TX 78382


University of Houston Small Business Development Center Region Office, 2302 Fannin St. - Suite 200, Houston, TX 77002


Port Aransas Community Center (next to the museum), 408 N. Alister St., Port Aransas, TX 78373

Fort Bend

Fort Bend County Sienna Annex, 5855 Sienna Springs Way - Room 111, Missouri City, TX 77459—7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily


Lamar University Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (CICE), 5091 Rolfe Christopher Drive, Beaumont, TX 77705

More information is available at You can also email or call (800) 659-2955. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339.


 FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution co-sponsor the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership of 42 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies. 

Harold Hunter DR 4332 Applicants Briefing Confirmation Memo.doc892.5 KB
Applicant Briefing DR-4332-TX-9-27-17.pptx3.99 MB
Request for Public Assistance.pdf77.28 KB
PNP Facility Questionnaire.pdf10.4 KB
Designation of Subrecipient's Agent (DSA) form.pdf168.27 KB
Direct Deposit Authorization Form Rev 4-14_18 (2).pdf63.17 KB