Program Offers Unemployment Assistance to Hurricane Victims

Posted: Updated:

WESLACO –A Rio Grande Valley man who had just moved to Houston is back home and out of a job. However, a state program is giving people affected by Hurricane Harvey some much needed assistance.

Sebastian Garcia said he was starting to get used to his new job in Houston. The 22-year-old said his plans blew away when the hurricane made landfall.

“I had been there for about a month. I literally left a month ago, and I had to come back,” he said.

Garcia said the storm put his place of employment underwater.

“I don’t have a job at the moment. I’ve been calling since Monday and I barely got a response yesterday,” he said. “And that said that they barely went in to dry everything off, that we weren’t gonna be open for a good while.”

Garcia said he’s worried about the uncertainty Harvey brought with it.

“I mean, you have certain things planned out… I had a week off, so I was like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna come back and work, make the money I need. But that one week threw me through a loop,’” he said.

Texas Workforce Solution communications director Mike Gonzalez said Garcia can apply for Texas Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

“Disaster Unemployment Assistance comes in handy in situation such as now, when we’re going through phenomenon such as Hurricane Harvey. (It) initially protects you from being fired because you weren’t able to go to work,” he said.

Gonzalez said the assistance is for those who were employed or self-employed in the areas affected by the storm. He said it provides unemployment benefits to those were directly impacted, like Garcia.

“It’s important that the people who are being affected by Harvey are well aware of this,” he said.

The communications director said there are certain criteria you have to meet to be eligible to get the assistance. He said more people in the affected areas are showing an increasing interest in the program. 

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