Breckenridge Texan

From bottled water and hot showers to federal grants and loans, winter storm help is available for Stephens County residents

From bottled water and hot showers to federal grants and loans, winter storm help is available for Stephens County residents
February 24
09:55 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Although most of the snow has melted and temperatures have returned to normal, many Stephens County residents continue to deal with the lasting effects of the recent winter storm. But, assistance is still available for local residents.

Bottle Water and Hot showers

Stephens County employee Carl Huffman helps hand out water to area residents earlier this week. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Today, Wednesday, Feb. 24, bottled water will be distributed to Breckenridge and Stephens County residents who are without safe drinking water. The water will be handed out from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., as long as supplies last, in the First United Methodist Church parking lot in the 500 block of West Walker Street, just east of the Allsup’s.

Additionally, FUMC will once again open up their facilities to anyone who wants to get a hot shower. The church, 419 W. Walker, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Thursday, Feb. 24-25.

Federal Assistance

Stephens County is one of the Texas counties approved for FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency Individual Assistance by President Joe Biden in a Major Disaster Declaration requested by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Individuals and business owners  who sustained losses in Stephens County can apply for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585.

Those who have insurance and are applying for disaster assistance must also file a claim with their insurance company as soon as possible, according to a FEMA news release. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If insurance does not cover all the damage, residents may be eligible for federal assistance.

When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security number, if available
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name

If it is safe to do so, FEMA suggests that you start cleaning up now. Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

Disaster assistance may include financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Additionally, the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce announced today that low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Stephens County businesses and residents as a result of President Biden’s major disaster declaration.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing Texas with the most effective and customer-focused response possible and with access to federal disaster loans to help businesses and residents affected by this disaster,” The U.S. Small Business Administration’s acting Administrator Tami L. Perriello said in a news release. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

In consideration of the public health concerns due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the SBA has established a Virtual Business Recovery Center to provide personalized assistance to business owners.  The SBA will also open a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help homeowners and renters.  Customer Service Representatives will be available to business owners and individuals to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each person complete their electronic loan application.

Contact the SBA:

Virtual Business Recovery Center and
Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EDT


Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 3 percent for businesses, 2 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.25 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, those affected must first contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call 800-877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.


Cutline, top photo: Stephens County employees, from left, Jimmie Cantrell, Richard Huckaby and Don Phillips, were set up at the First United Methodist Church parking lot to distribute water to Stephens County residents who were without safe drinking water.  Water will be available again today, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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