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.