FEMA Concerned with Verbal Evictions in Rio Grande Valley
WESLACO - The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expressing concern of multiple incidents of verbal evictions in the Valley. They want to let the community know there is legal assistance available.
Reports of damage and displacement surfaced just as soon as the water rose during June's flooding. Almost a month later, families are being displaced in a different way. Landlords are telling people to leave their homes.
"That concerned us," says Latanga Hopes, a FEMA Media Relations Specialist. They've heard of it happening so much in the Rio Grande Valley, they decided to send a warning to the public.
"If you have been put out of your home, if you've been told to leave your home, and you feel that's it's done illegally, we have legal teams that can support you in processing paperwork to be more successful in your fight to stay in your home," assures Hopes.
Disaster survivor assistance teams are in Willacy, Cameron and Hidalgo Counties assessing the damage.
They're not sure why these verbal evictions are happening.
Landlords are telling some families to leave so they can make repairs, but the reasons vary.
Hopes explains, "If someone has come to your home and you feel because you have a limited amount of English that your citizenship may not necessarily be what it is, there are some people that have been reduce to not fighting these issues."
Citizens and non-citizens who have authorization from the federal government to live and work in the United States are encouraged to stop by their disaster recovery centers.
Whether you are eligible for FEMA assistance or are still unsure if you qualify, they ask you to bring some documents.
"Bring any paperwork that you would have, your address, anything that provides ID for you, any checking information that you have for banking, any information that would give us the status for your income, anything that you could have that would support identifying and validating who you are," lists Hopes.
FEMA will help with renter/tenant situations. If they have sent you a letter stating you are ineligible for disaster assistance, they can also help you provide a response to that initial assessment.
You can reach them via phone at 1-800-621-3362, online at disasterassistance.gov, or at any of the three disaster recovery centers set up in Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy Counties. You can go to any of their center, not just the one set up in the county your home is registered.
The centers to help residents will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:
1001 Pancho Maples Drive, La Feria, TX
Community County Safe Room 10804 Business 77 in Raymondville
La Villa Youth Center 302 West 2nd Street in La Villa