Tomorrow + Thursday: In-Person Hurricane Ida Resource Center

Dear [firstname], 

Hurricane Ida swept through our community last week, leaving behind extensive damage and a long road to recovery for many caught in its path. As the sun rose Thursday morning, our first responders (on little or no sleep at all) were still hard at work clearing roads and helping residents. So let me begin by thanking each and every one of them - without a doubt, their actions saved lives.

I'm sending this quick update to consolidate resources for families and businesses directly impacted by the severe storms and flooding. But before I do that, I want to address one common question I'm hearing:

What is the difference between a local and federal disaster declaration?

There are two levels of emergency declarations - the state level, issued by the Governor, and the federal level, issued by the White House. As I write this, our Governor has issued a state disaster declaration, but only the President can issue a federal disaster declaration. That hasn't happened yet because we haven't hit the necessary threshold of damage. And here's why it's important we get the latter: a federal emergency declaration means we can tap into more resources to help our schools, small businesses, and families recover.

After the storm, I met with local police officers, firefighters, and emergency coordinators to see the damage firsthand. Please know I'm doing everything I can to help speed up the process to get our Commonwealth such a federal declaration, including pushing necessary data to the Governor and White House and urging them to help activate the full resources of FEMA behind our efforts. But I need your help. Please continue to send pictures and accounts of the storm damage to your local municipality. You can do that here: Chester or Berks.

In the meantime, let me reiterate you are not alone. Below are some upcoming events and resources to help: 
 .  .  .

TOMORROW + THURSDAY: In-person Hurricane Ida Resource Center

Our community is incredibly resilient and already stepping up to help those impacted. For Chester County residents, there will be an in-person Hurricane Ida Resource Center tomorrow and Thursday from noon until 7:00PM at the United Sports Training Center, 1426 Marshallton Thorndale Road, Downingtown.

Read more about the two-day event on the Chester County Government webpage.

Emergency Assistance for PA-06 Residents 

Rep. Houlahan meets with first responders, emergency coordinators, and local officials in Phoenixville to see the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Some reports have areas such as Downingtown receiving more than 10 inches of rain; southern Chester County near Oxford had a tornado; numerous roads and bridges were damaged; the list goes on. As a result, our team put together some resources.

Property Damage

If you have property damage, please report it. The damage assessment phase is still ongoing. Damage can include:

  • Individual property destruction
  • Clean-up needs
  • Public property
  • Damage to businesses and non-profits
This must be done at the local level. For an area to be eligible for a federal disaster declaration, it must meet a certain damage threshold, determined by existing federal formulas. So, if you haven't done so already, please contact your municipal emergency coordinator to report damage. You can do that using these links for Chester or Berks. FEMA and PEMA teams are currently deployed with these local officials to ensure accurate damage assessments are reported so that relief can be delivered as quickly as possible.

Also, if you have insurance, contact your insurance agent or company to file a report of damage to your property (including damage done to vehicles).

Housing Insecurity

I applaud the quick work that helped relocate hundreds of people overnight last Wednesday. Individuals still experiencing housing insecurity in Chester County should continue to call 2-1-1. For Berks County residents, please contact the Berks County Housing Authority.

Small Business Help

Remember, businesses should also report damage to municipal emergency coordinators. In the event our Commonwealth receives a federal disaster declaration, there are additional programs that offer loans to business owners in affected areas:

Roads and Bridges

PennDOT is still conducting assessments to impacted roads. This process will take some time to complete. For live updates, visit

Interested in reading how a disaster meets the criteria for a federal declaration? Watch a video from FEMA explaining the process here.

.  .  .

Again, we know this is a difficult time for our community. As always, we invite you to call our office or message us through our contact form about this or any other issue. It is the honor of my lifetime to serve our community in Pennsylvania. Please take care and be well.


1218 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4315
M-F 9:00am-6:00pm
709 E. Gay Street
Suite 4
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: (610) 883-5050
M, W, F 9:00am-5:00pm
T, Th 9:00am-7:00pm

815 Washington Street
Suite 2-48
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: (610) 295-0815
M, W, F 9:00am-5:00pm
T, Th 9:00am-7:00pm

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