Four months after Hurricane Harvey devastated homes in Galveston County, the Texas General Land Office has begun approving applicants in Galveston County for its immediate disaster housing programs and evaluating homes to decide what kind of repairs they need.
Steve Mataro, owner of DSW Homes, has inspected dozens of homes in Dickinson in the past three weeks to prepare for the coming hammers and boots on the ground, he said.
“There’s other builders in the pool,” Mataro said. Private contractors and builders are working seven days a week all over parts of Texas that Harvey hit hard, he said.
The land office is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine which applicants are qualified for which programs.
FEMA has qualified 396 Galveston County residents for direct housing programs, land office spokeswoman Brittany Eck said.
Of those 396 applicants, 54 are in the process of receiving a mobile home unit on a private site and an another 13 are now licensed to live in their temporary mobile homes, Eck said. The license is required because FEMA owns the units, not the individual homeowners.
Also, 96 residents will receive a travel trailer on a private site, while an additional 55 are now licensed to live in the trailers, Eck said.
The Texas General Land Office is working with FEMA to find 103 commercial sites for mobile home units and travel trailers, Eck said. So far, the land office has located 10 new sites and has work orders in progress.
The land office is also working with FEMA to identify 60 units for its Direct Lease program or Multifamily Lease and Repair program. So far, the land office is processing nine sites, Eck said.
The land office is contacting another 30 applicants for Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair inspections in the county, Eck said.
Mataro has inspected Galveston County homes for the Partial Repair and Essential Power for Sheltering program and for the Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair program, he said.
Many of those inspections were in Dickinson, he said.
The land office will roll out Community Development Block Grant programs in January that will involve the city more, Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters said.
“The process of recovery from Hurricane Harvey continues not as quickly as most of us would like, but progress is being made,” Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters said. “I see FEMA trailers and RVs around town and hopefully reconstruction will move more quickly for those folks that are able to live on their property while rebuilding.”
The land office will roll out Community Development Block Grant programs in January that will involve Dickinson city officials more, Masters said.
But right now, the land office is working with individuals so city officials don’t necessarily know what’s happening with the housing programs, Dickinson Assistant City Administrator Stephanie Russell said.
“We’ve only gotten bits and pieces of information,” Russell said.