Commission To Rebuild Texas Update: Issue 11

AUSTIN – In traveling back to the Texas Gulf Coast this week, I was again reminded of the resilience and optimism of the people of this great state. The generosity of spirit shown by businesses, volunteer organizations and the many men and women working behind the scenes to help our displaced families is a powerful testament to the character of Texas. And the message shared by survivors to not give up hope is humbling. Though the challenges are many and the road long, progress is being made each day. With each nail driven, each key handed over and each ribbon cut on a business, we are rebuilding a stronger Texas—together.

– Governor Greg Abbott

Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas

  • Governor Abbott, Rebuild Texas Commissioner John Sharp and local elected leaders joined officials in Fulton to announce a $1 million donation of funds and equipment from Kubota Tractor Corporation to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.
  • Governor Abbott again extended the State Disaster Declaration for 60 Texas counties.
  • More than $497.7 million in Public Assistance funding from FEMA for state and local governments has been obligated, and 1,001 Requests for Public Assistance have been received from jurisdictions, as of Nov. 29.
  • The Commission held regional meetings in Houston and in Corpus Christi along with representatives from FEMA, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas General Land Office. Mayors, county judges and other local officials engaged with subject matter experts on public finance issues, debris management, housing, structural standards, workforce issues, and flood control, mitigation and land development. This concluded the most recent series of regional meetings along the Gulf Coast.
  • Because of the Commission’s daily outreach, as of Nov. 28, 2017, more than 3,987 reports have been submitted from the field to our Assistance Center. From those reports, the Assistance Center identified 639 issues needing follow-up or resolution and all but four had been resolved.
  • TDEM estimates more than 10.26 million cubic yards of debris have been collected, about 41 percent of the anticipated total.

 

Individual Assistance

  • More than $10 billion in federal funds have been provided directly to Texans, including FEMA grants to households, National Flood Insurance Program claims payments and SBA disaster loans, as of Nov 29.
  • 891,988 individual assistance applications have been received as of Nov. 29.
  • 13,110 households are taking advantage of FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance, as of Nov. 29. The TSA program providing short-term hotel stays to displaced survivors while they look for longer-term housing has been extended to Jan. 16, 2018.
  • 205,935 individuals have visited Disaster Recovery Centers for assistance, as of Nov. 29; for current locations and mobile units visit fema.gov/DRC or download the FEMA app fema.gov/mobile-app.
  • FEMA has completed 584,075 inspections, as of Nov. 29.

Jobs

  • $89.9 million in disaster-related unemployment benefits have been paid out by the Texas Workforce Commission, including TWC disaster benefits and federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance, as of Nov. 30.
  • Disaster-related job openings are available on HurricaneHarvey.jobs and WorkInTexas.com.

Housing

  • FEMA and the Texas General Land Office continue to work with local leaders to find short-term housing solutions for those in need. The direct housing assistance team has called nearly 800 affected homeowners to discuss the Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair program, which provides up to $60,000 in basic home repairs provided for homes with a FEMA-verified loss of at least $17,000.
  • More than 2,800 manufactured housing units, travel trailers and non-motorized recreational vehicles are currently being installed or have been turned over to displaced families. Units have been arriving at staging areas for final inspections before being matched with eligible applicants and deployed to the affected areas. Installations are taking place on homeowner lots or nearby commercial lots depending on the needs of the affected families.
  • Last week, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush was in Southeast Texas to inspect a family’s home receiving repairs through the Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair program. He met with the family members as well as the church volunteers who helped them muck out the house immediately after the hurricane.
  • Commissioner Bush also toured flood impacted areas of Newton County with Texas State Rep. James White, Newton County Judge Paul Price and County Commissioner Gene Thompson, and discussed possible U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant funded mitigation projects.
  • This week Commissioner Bush traveled to Houston and Fort Bend County to meet with local leaders and discuss the status of direct housing assistance.
  • TexasRebuilds.com is the housing information source for individuals and communities.
  • Follow the hurricane recovery progress on the Texas GLO’s Twitter at Twitter.com/TXGLO.

Schools

  • The TEA is requiring school districts located in the 60 counties within Governor Abbott’s disaster proclamation to submit current projections for tax year 2017 tax collections to help determine the statewide impact on taxable property values from Hurricane Harvey during the 2017–2018 school year. The 2017–2018 Tax Information Survey will be open until Jan. 31, 2018.
  • The deadline for all school districts and charter schools affected by Hurricane Harvey to apply for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) E-rate funds to replace damaged equipment and services is Dec. 13, 2017.
  • The TEA encourages school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to take immediate action and document the loss of records due to Hurricane Harvey. The agency asks that districts maintain that documentation locally.

Texans Helping Texans

  • 24,811 Harvey survivors have called the Cleanup Assistance Hotline at 844-965-1386. Volunteer groups have completed 19,043 requests to muck out and gut flood-damaged homes.
  • 52,455 volunteers have donated more than 3.25 million volunteer service hours which are carefully tracked and can be applied to a community’s cost-share offset if eligibility requirements are met as determined by FEMA’s Public Assistance program.

Community Spotlight

The 4-H family is big in Texas. The largest youth development program in Texas reaches more than 550,000 young Texans each year. And in recovery from Harvey, the 4-H family bond has made a big difference for many. “We are so thankful for all the support and help we have received,” says Candace Moeller, the Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources in Refugio County. “People are still picking up the pieces and getting back on their feet, but our 4-H families are getting ready for stock show season and the kids are excited. We still have many 4-H families, along with many other residents, who have to demolish and rebuild or strip everything to the studs and start over. We are very lucky to have such a huge 4-H family. We are still receiving an outpouring of love and help from 4-H clubs and members not only across the state, but across the nation.” And to return that generosity, 4-H members will be helping to distribute donated goods this weekend at the local donation center in Refugio.

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