Society of Southwest Archivists

Disaster Declared in Seven Texas Counties: FEMA Assistance Available

  • 20 May 2024 2:51 PM
    Message # 13359307

    Dear Texas Colleagues,

    I hope you and your loved ones are managing to stay safe from the continued impacts of the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, and flooding. The Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), a public-private partnership between FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution, is supporting response and recovery efforts of Texas’ arts & culture sector – and the public.  I am forwarding information that may be useful to you if you need recovery assistance.



    A major disaster declaration has been made on May 17th, 2024, for the events that began on April 26th and are continuing.

    Individual Assistance is now available in 7 counties: Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties (please see Designated Areas for further location and assistance details).  

    1.       Individual Assistance is available to individuals and households. For disasters declared on or after March 22nd, 2024, FEMA’s Individual Assistance program was expanded to include quicker access to needed funds including simplifying assistance for self-employed individuals such as self-employed artists and entrepreneurs. Learn more about this update in the Press Release.   

    2.     Information on DR-4781 can be found at  4781 |

    FEMA is working to gather reports of damage, identify any unmet needs, and share the following resources:   


    a.       Was your cultural institution or arts organization affected? If so, how? Please fill out one of the following Rapid Damage Assessment Forms 

    ·         Cultural Institutions  

    ·         Arts Organizations  

    ·         Individual Artists and Performing Groups  


    b.       Cultural institutions, arts organizations, and artists and performing groups can call the National Heritage Responders hotline: 202.661.8068. The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and collections care professionals administered by the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation, are available 24/7 to provide advice and guidance.      


    c.       Members of the public and individual artists who have questions about saving family heirlooms and personal collections can email the National Heritage Responders at  


    d.       HENTF’s Save Your Family Treasures guidance is available at Here you can find the downloadable FEMA fact sheets “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” and “Salvaging Water-Damaged Family Valuables and Heirlooms,” available in multiple languages.     


    For additional questions on FEMA assistance, please contact Please email

    Please let us know if we can be of any assistance.


    Gloria Meraz
    Director and State Librarian,
    Texas State Library and 

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