E-News from the Office of Senator Van de Putte
I am writing to update you on our state recovery plan in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Ike devastated Southeast Texas claiming 27 lives in Texas, 62 nationwide, and the mounting monetary damages could reach $35 billion.
As of Wednesday, September 24, a re-entry advisory was announced for all Galveston residents and business owners. Water and electrical services have yet to be fully restored, although city leaders are working with neighboring cities for extra manpower assistance. Clearly, this creates a health risk, so officials are asking residents with special needs and children not return at this point. It could take up to six months to make Galveston completely habitable.
A rental assistance program for Texans displaced by Hurricane Ike has been created to help evacuees find transitional housing, including temporary rental payments. The program is a joint effort between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and HUD. Families in need must first register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visiting http://www.FEMA.gov.
The U.S. Department of Labor has also approved a $15.9 million National Emergency Grant to subsidize 600 temporary jobs, and assist in clean-up and recovery efforts in areas affected by the aftermath Hurricane Ike.
Earlier this week, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst testified before the U.S. Senate Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery to review the federal and state response to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The following is a link to his complete testimony: http://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/docs/DHD-Ike-Testimony.pdf
Information from the Attorney General
When disaster strikes, we want to help, but we must be sure our funds are going to a legitimate cause. As such, please keep the following tips in mind, when donating to an organization soliciting funds for recovery efforts:
- Ask for credentials, including the exact name and telephone number of the organization, particularly if the charity is unfamiliar
- Call the charity directly and confirm that the solicitor is actually associated with it
- Look out for questionable charities using names that closely resemble those of well-known charities
- Find out how the donation will be used
- Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion and short on descriptions about providing help to those in need
- Donít succumb to high-pressure tactics and demands for an immediate decision.
- Never give credit card or bank account information to a telephone solicitor;
- Never give cash and never agree to give money to a courier. Write a check in the name of the charity, not the individual doing the asking, always get a receipt
Texans who wish to file a complaint with the Attorney Generalís Office regarding suspicious charities may call the Consumer Complaint Hotline at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.
Information from the Texas Department of State Health Services
Crisis counseling and assistance with stress management are available to anyone affected by Hurricane Ike. You may call 2-1-1 for a crisis hotline number or to find stress management, crisis counseling, substance abuse and spiritual assistance in your community. Services are available in English and Spanish statewide, and include outreach and referral to other disaster assistance groups and organizations.
I continue to keep all those affected by this tragedy in my thoughts and prayers; and I assure you my colleagues and I are working to address the fiscal impact of this catastrophic event.
***A special thanks to all of our San Antonio volunteers for their hard work in coordinating services for the Hurricane Ike evacuees.***
HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR VAN DE PUTTE
700 N. St. Mary's St. #1725
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 733-6605 - fax