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As storm victims struggle to survive after the devastation and loss caused by Hurricane Harvey, the first thing individuals and community associations should do is register for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Community association residents are most likely concerned with debris removal. Here are steps a community association manager/board should take to begin the process for debris removal.

  1. Debris removal from private property requires prior FEMA approval. It is highly unlikely community associations will be reimbursed for expenses if they do not use the proper channels.
  2. Contact the local municipality (county, city, township, etc) and a local FEMA Regional Office to request debris removal pick up in the community. The county and/or FEMA may deny entry into a private community.    If they deny entry into the community, the community association may want to consider hiring a private contractor to move the debris to the closest public street for removal by the county.
  3. Homeowners who need financial assistance to repair their primary residence, shelter or medical assistance, should apply for FEMA Individual Disaster Assistance.   FEMA asks survivors who have internet access to register for aid at DisasterAssistance.gov. If you can’t get online, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY). Registering will enable FEMA to begin the process of determining your eligibility for aid and services.
  4. Businesses, associations, and homeowners may be eligible for Disaster Loan Assistance through the Small Business Administration.  Visit https://www.sba.gov/loans-grants/see-what-sba-offers/sba-loan-programs for more information.
  5. Be patient.
  6. Visit www.fema.gov  or www.caionline.org/communitypreparedness  for additional resources and information.