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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2017 Vol. 64 No. 9

Emergency Services Helps Texans Affected by Disasters

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Throughout 2016, Mother Nature hit Texas hard enough for the federal government to declare four separate disasters, making Texans in 51 counties eligible for assistance. Much of that assistance was facilitated through Texas Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) Emergency Services Program (ESP), which supported 16,000 Texans last fiscal year.

The HHSC ESP provides financial help and case management to assist individuals rebuild their homes, replace personal property and recover from disasters. It also oversees distribution of water and ice to affected communities and helps Texans stranded abroad by emergencies. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) directs ESP to distribute water and ice in communities hit by disaster when those needs cannot be met by local government. Following the State of Texas Emergency Management Plan, the Emergency Water and Ice Program develops and maintains contracts so supplies are ready for any emergency.

"HHSC Emergency Services stands ready, day or night, to support residents of Texas during an emergency. We are on call 24/7," said ESP Program Director John Jackson. "We have several programs that can help people."

The Other Needs Assistance Program helps Texans who don't qualify for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration and aren't insured. Funded largely by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it processes grant applications from people affected by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

ESP also houses a Disaster Case Management Program that helps qualified clients develop a disaster recovery plan. With the help of a case manager, clients work through the steps of recovering from a disaster. "We work closely with survivors to help them navigate assistance systems and help them recover as quickly as possible," said ESP Disaster Case Management Operations Manager John Andoe.

Emergency Services Helps Texans Affected by Disasters

Emergency Services Program Training Specialist, Carol Greenslate, presenting an overview of the Disaster Case Management Program at the 2017 Regional Disaster Area Coordinators (RDAC) Conference held in Austin, Texas, July 11-12, 2017.

When Texans overseas are affected by a disaster or threat, they can turn to ESP's Repatriation Program to get home safely. The program also works with International Social Services, a global child-protection and social service network, to help people with disabilities and unaccompanied minors. Federally funded and administered by the state, ESP's Repatriation Program averages four to six repatriations a month.

To learn more about the ESP's services, email John Jackson.

Elicia Taylor
Texas Health and Human Services Commission

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