U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson announced an additional $57.8 million to help Texas recover, as the Lone Star state continues to rebuild after the devastating destruction of Hurricane Harvey.
The grant comes from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program.
“Clearly, the long-term needs in Texas far exceed this allocation so I anticipate this downpayment will be targeted to address damaged housing to help Texans move forward with their own recovery,” said Carson. “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.”
Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast at the end of August into the beginning of October, wreaking havoc on South Texas and destroying thousands of homes.
For background, in May, President Donald Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, which included $400 million in CDBG-DR funding to support recovery from major disasters in 2015 and later.
To determine these disaster recovery allocations, HUD explained that the act requires the department "to analyze the most currently available data of the unmet costs to repair seriously damaged properties and infrastructure in the most-impacted counties."
Following this requirement, HUD opted to allocate these funds to Texas since it has an existing recovery plan. The plans are the result of funds awarded for 2016 disasters, which will serve as a rapid launch platform for the use of these new funds.
Using data from FEMA, HUD estimates thirteen counties in Texas have qualifying levels of unmet housing needs, but the situation is most severe in Harris, Galveston and Jefferson counties.
And the positive news is that HUD still has a lot of money left to allocate after this initial grant is given to Texas.
On September 8th, Trump signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017, which appropriated $7.4 billion in CDBG-DR funding for major disasters declared in calendar year 2017.
This means that as more data becomes available, HUD will determine where to allocate the $7.4 billion in disaster recovery grants in an equitable and consistent manner, based on a clear understanding of unmet needs.