Mayor Sylvester Turner’s commitment to finding more federal grant funds for the City of Houston is already yielding major results. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) announced Monday that Houston will receive $66.56 million to assist disaster recovery efforts following significant flooding during Memorial Day weekend and October of 2015.
Houston’s grant is part of $142 million coming to Texas for disaster recovery. San Marcos is receiving $25 million and $50.69 million will go to the state to be disbursed to other areas impacted by floods.
“The City of Houston’s ability to produce quality homes and engage communities with innovative participatory approaches has resulted in a new opportunity to lead the nation,” said Mayor Turner. “This award designation is the ultimate vote of confidence from HUD. The funds have been awarded directly to the city and will not have to be dispersed through other agencies. This means the disaster recovery process will be even more streamlined and efficient for Houston families. Experience has been a great teacher, and Houston is poised to take center stage while making effective decisions, innovative approaches to inclusiveness and focused investment strategies,” Turner said. He added that the city will begin immediately to develop plans for using the funds.
Besides allowing for housing assistance to Houston’s low- to moderate-income families, the new grant can also be used for economic development and infrastructure to help meet needs resulting from flood damage. HUD is also encouraging grantees to use these funds for resiliency planning and disaster preparedness programs to lessen the impact of future storms.
“After disaster strikes, the most important task is getting folks back to a safe home quickly, so they can return to their daily lives,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro. “With climate change increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters, we must take every opportunity to plan better and ensure faster recovery for communities across the nation. With this $142 million disaster recovery investment, we uphold our commitment to helping these communities recover stronger and be better prepared for future disasters.”
The Texas disaster recovery grants are part of a $300 million appropriation by Congress to address the unmet recovery needs from major flooding disasters in both Texas and South Carolina in 2015. HUD allocates CDBG-Disaster Recovery funds based on data from FEMA and the Small Business Administration disaster loan programs to identify the areas of greatest need in the impacted region.