The Dickinson City Council on Tuesday made a group of appointments that it hopes will more quickly put disaster relief donations into the hands of residents whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Harvey.
In a unanimous vote, the council appointed two alternate members to the city’s Harvey Repair Grant Award Committee.
The hope is, with the new members, the month-old committee can actually get to work, officials said.
The seven-person committee was created in October to help distribute more than $1 million to Dickinson residents and businesses. The money is from donations made to the city after the storm. Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters said the committee was created in order to remove politics — and their own personal situations — from the award process.
“Most all of us flooded,” Masters said. “We wanted to take that part out of it.”
But since the committee was created, members had been unable to meet as a group and form a quorum — which is required for them to begin the work of assessing applications and making awards. At least one member of the committee had already resigned.
The city has received 690 applications from homeowners for the Harvey Repair Grant Program, city officials said. It’s received another 44 applications from businesses.
When they are awarded, the grants will provide up to $3,000 to residents and $5,000 to businesses.
There was no immediate date provided for when the grant committee would meet next.
In a separate vote, the council approved an application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to attempt to qualify for a state disaster relief program that provides aid to low-income residents.
The department’s HOME program provides rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance, rental aid and down payment help for homebuyers.
The city still needs to be approved through the agency before residents can take advantage of the program.
“We’re looking at every avenue of funding,” Masters said.
Dickinson received some of the heaviest rain during Hurricane Harvey. City officials estimate that 80 percent of the homes in Dickinson were affected by flooding during the late August storm.