GALVESTON

The federal housing authority on Friday allocated nearly $58 million for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas for long-term disaster recovery, but the money likely won’t be available for several months.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, headed by Ben Carson, announced Friday it was allocating $57.8 million from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program to help Texas recover from Harvey.

Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 in Rockport, traveled along the coast and dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some areas, overflowing rivers and creeks and causing destructive flooding across the region.

“While we continue to team up with our local partners to implement the short-term housing assistance programs provided by FEMA, we will simultaneously be working with our HUD partners on the framework for this new allocation of long-term disaster recovery funding,” General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush said.

The allocation is intended to help the disaster recovery get going before the department divides up $7.4 billion in disaster recovery grants appropriated in September.

“Clearly, the long-term needs in Texas far exceed this allocation so I anticipate this down payment will be targeted to address damaged housing to help Texans move forward with their own recovery,” Carson said.

“As we work to allocate additional funding in a fair and effective manner, states and communities can count on HUD to be a strong partner in efforts to recover from the hurricanes and other major disasters our nation experienced this year.”

On Sept. 8, President Donald Trump signed the Continuing Appropriations Act 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act 2017, which included $15.25 billion to support response and recovery from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to the Texas General Land Office.

Of the $15.25 billion, $7.4 billion was appropriated to HUD for long-term recovery, according to the land office.

The block grant will be sent to the state to be divided among local governments following a public comment period, according to housing department guidelines.

To date, the land office estimated a loss of more than $68.6 billion in Hurricane Harvey property damage. Other costs such as business interruption, economic losses, unemployment, property tax revenue decreases and agricultural losses are more difficult to determine and not considered when making allocations, according to the land office.

These grants can be used for a wide variety of activities, including housing redevelopment, business assistance and infrastructure repair, according to the land office.

The land office does not determine how the money will be divided among counties, nor does it add regulations beyond what the department mandates, said Brittany Eck, a land office spokeswoman.

The housing department will publish the rules for how the funds will be spent and the land office will work with local governments to develop an action plan, Eck said.

Marissa Barnett: 409-683-5257; marissa.barnett@galvnews.com

(3) comments

Randy Chapman

I guess this means free houses for those that were not maintained before the storm. That's how CDBG money worked after Ike. Let your home fall apart? No problem if you lie about your finances; we'll give you a new one!

Mark Aaron

Randy: [ I guess this means free houses for those that were not maintained before the storm. That's how CDBG money worked after Ike.]

Do you have any evidence to support that claim? What exactly is CDBG?

==> [ Let your home fall apart? No problem if you lie about your finances; we'll give you a new one!]

That would be fraud. Did you tell the authorities about any cases of it you have seen?


These grants can be used for a wide variety of activities, including housing redevelopment, business assistance and infrastructure repair, according to the land office.

Randy Chapman

Community Development Block Grant Money. And yes, I can support that claim. Ask any employee of DSW Homes or Sullivan Homes and they will tell you that they replaced many homes that were termed "deferred maintenance"...meaning the homeowner chose not to maintain their home over the years and let it fall apart. Then comes Ike, and with it's 80MPH landfall winds. The home loses 3 or 4 shingles, the homeowner hears they can get a free home for that immense damage, and they are shepherded into the system by people wanting to spend your hard earned tax dollars. And yes, lots of fraud was committed. Homes that were vacant before Ike were replaced. The home had to be lived in during Ike to qualify. One husband and wife even divorced so that she could get the shack they live in replaced. They made too much money, so they got a quick divorce on paper so that she could get under the limit. Do they still live together? Of course they do. They never separated except on paper. Homeowners were even told to damage their homes before the folks that run the program got there to take pictures and document the "damage." So yes, Marky, lots of fraud was committed, and can be proven by utility records and the such.

Welcome to the discussion.

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