Capitol Office: 512.463.0707   |   District Office: 281.485.6565

Friday, October 06 2017

Capitol Review Vol. 5, No. 15

 
Volume 5, No. 15
 
Dear Friends,
 
With all the devastation that Hurricane Harvey has caused, I have been humbled to see the response from people across our state and nation to help our communities recover. I've seen neighbors helping neighbors and Texans helping Texans. Recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint, so let's remember to be kind, compassionate, and helpful with one another during this trying time.
 
This edition of the Capitol Review includes additional information and resources for Hurricane Harvey recovery:
 
  • How the State is Supervising Federal Funds
  • Finding Local Resources
  • Information on Short & Long Term Housing
  • FAQs about Housing Programs in Texas
  • Importance of Documenting Damage
  • Local Goodwill Efforts
 
It's more important now than ever to get to know your neighbors and look out for each other. I was happy to join Chief Spires at the Shadycrest HOA's National Night Out event.
 
THE GLO'S ROLE IN SUPERVISING FUNDS
Hurricane Harvey relief through the Texas General Land Office is locally led, state supported, and federally funded.
 
The GLO's Hurricane Task Force is ready to support our partners in Hurricane Harvey response efforts. They have coordinated all storm-related operational functions to have boots on the ground assisting with response efforts, including oil spill mitigation and debris removal. Additionally, they are working with community officials in the storm's path to document damage in anticipation of long-term recovery efforts.
 
I joined our local and state officials to discuss Brazoria County's transportation and infrastructure needs.
 
LOCAL RESOURCES
To find help for your immediate needs, please enter an address here to get a list of the closest FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) to you. If there isn't a DRC close to you, contact your state’s emergency management agency to ask about other resources, or to get your county’s contacts. To find your closest hospital, use the U.S. Hospital Finder. You may also be able to find temporary lodging on the Airbnb website through their Disaster Response Program; available for a limited time only.
Do you need help for a business, local government, or community? If so, you may want to view the Other Recovery Help page. There you can find other resources that are not just for individuals.
 
Our community continues to give to our neighbors in need, and I'm happy to help any way I can.
 
SHORT TERM HOUSING
For individuals: To start the assistance process, log on towww.DisasterAssistance.govor call 1-800-621-3362. Once you have registered, FEMA will determine eligibility. PLEASE NOTE: If emergency sheltering, rental assistance, or minor repair money enables you to return to your home, you may not be eligible for further housing assistance.
The GLO executed an Intergovernmental Services Agreement (IGSA) contract with FEMA on September 22nd. Next, FEMA must approve the GLO’s management plan. The GLO will begin working with the Councils of Government (COGs) to help them implement local programs to address disaster assistance housing needs. To receive assistance impacted homeowners or renters should apply directly to FEMA. All eligibility determinations are made by FEMA.
 
The GLO's primary objective is to provide flexible options so that the effort can be locally led, state supported, and federally funded. Programs which may be available to impacted areas include:
 
  • Multi-Family Lease and Repair - direct assistance to repair or improve existing multi-family housing, such as apartments, in order to provide more housing options.
  • Direct Leasing - enables local governments to lease properties that typically would not be available to the public, such as a dormitory or corporate retreat center.
  • Partial Repair and Essential Power for Shelter (PREPS) - essential repairs to restore basic power, water, and shelter needs to allow individuals to live at home during long-term housing recovery efforts. This program includes a 10% cost share.
  • Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair – direct home repair/construction, limited to real property components such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, walls, floors, ceilings, etc. Under this program, FEMA will not repair or replace those items eligible under any other FEMA programs, such as furnishings and appliances.
  • Manufactured Housing Options - provides temporary manufactured housing units, travel trailers.
 
I enjoyed providing some words of encouragement to the students at PACE High School.
 
LONG TERM HOUSING
For individuals: The Texas General Land Office’s Community Development and Revitalization program (GLO-CDR) provides long-term recovery assistance to Texans as they rebuild after disasters. Since 2011, the GLO has been the lead State of Texas agency for administering almost $4 billion in U S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.
 
These funds were allocated following Hurricanes Rita, Dolly, and Ike; the 2011 wildfires; and the 2015 and 2016 floods. Congress has appropriated $7.4 billion in CDBG-DR funds for Hurricane Harvey relief. The GLO is waiting for HUD to publish rules regarding this appropriation in the Federal Register. We will post additional information on long-term Harvey relief funds as it becomes available. For information regarding previous long-term disaster recovery efforts, please visit www.TexasRebuilds.org
 
The GLO is the lead state agency for administering CDBG-DR funds appropriated by Congress and allocated by HUD. CDBG-DR funds may be used for recovery efforts involving housing, infrastructure, and planning.
 
All proposed projects must have a direct tie back to the event for which the funding was provided. Eligible activities for housing include:
  • Single Family Housing.
  • Rehabilitation of the existing structure.
  • Reconstruction, which consist of tearing down the structure and rebuilding.
 
With one of our local hometown heroes, Mattress Mack!
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DIRECT HOUSING PROGRAMS IN TEXAS
Q:What should I do if I suffered damage from Hurricane Harvey?
 
A:First, register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, download the FEMA APP, or call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.
 
You will be asked to provide basic information including insurance coverage. Anyone affected by Hurricane Harvey is encouraged to apply. You may be referred to a range of helpful programs in addition to FEMA assistance. The information you provide will be used to help FEMA determine whether you are eligible. In most cases, an inspector will come out to look at your damaged property to help FEMA determine which relief program you qualify. If declined, applicants may be referred back to FEMA, possibly for Other Needs Assistance (ONA), which includes personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. If you have already registered with FEMA, you need not register again.
 
Q: Who is leading housing recovery efforts in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey?
 
A: Hurricane Harvey relief is locally led, state-administered, and federally funded.
The General Land Office (GLO) is leading the state's Temporary Direct Housing recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The GLO is working with local officials – Councils of Government (COGs), judges and mayors – to find the most effective ways to get Texans back in their homes. For details on direct housing programs, see www.texasrebuilds.com.
 
Q:How is the federally funded, state-administered, locally managed disaster housing implemented?
 
A: The GLO, with the assistance of FEMA, will handle administrative responsibilities through the appropriate COGs; management is made locally by county judges, mayors, housing authorities and city/county departments in coordination with COGs.
 
Q:How is this different from what FEMA usually does after a disaster?
 
A: Federally funded, state supported, locally managed housing is implemented on the local level, by local officials, rather than implemented by FEMA. All available housing options are being implemented to meet survivors’ needs.
 
Q:What is the federal role?
 
A: FEMA provides the funding and determines eligibility for direct housing benefits. The federal government also provides technical assistance and financial support to state and local jurisdictions, as well as providing financial assistance to eligible individuals.
 
Happy to be a part of this group of volunteers that continue their dedication to Keeping Pearland Beautiful!
 
Q:What are the direct housing programs being managed by local Texas communities?
 
A: The following Direct Temporary Housing Assistance programs will be federally funded, administered by the State of Texas and managed by local officials:
  1. Multi-family Housing Leasing and Repair: Direct assistance to repair or improve existing multi-family housing such as apartments in order to provide more housing for survivors. Properties must be three or more units, with each unit providing complete living facilities for cooking, eating, and sanitation. Hotels, motels, and extended stay hotels are not eligible at this time.
  2. Direct Leasing: Enables local governments to lease a property that typically would not be available to the public, such as corporate lodging. Local government enters into the lease agreement on behalf of individuals or households. Various types of housing properties may be eligible.
  3. Manufactured Housing Options (Mobile Homes and Travel Trailers): Direct housing places manufactured units on private land or commercial pads. Local permitting may apply. Site must be suitable. Hauling and installation by local entities involved. An inspection of the site to determine suitability will be scheduled.
  4. PREPS – Partial Repair and Essential Power for Sheltering: PREPS provides minor repairs to homes in locations with limited housing options. For eligible properties that have incurred limited damage displacing individuals from their homes. PREPS allows basic, emergency home repairs – not to include finish work – so Texans can shelter in their home while they are completing permanent repairs. To be eligible for PREPS, individuals and households must reside in a county that has been designated for Public Assistance and Individual Assistance. Your damage must be to a primary residence, you must be the homeowner, and damage must be a result of Hurricane Harvey.
  5. DALHR – Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair: DALHR provides permanent repairs to homes with significant damage. Program can include permanent repairs to a survivor’s home where alternative housing is not available or is not cost-effective. FEMA will determine eligibility for permanent housing construction DALHR on a case-by-case basis. All other forms of housing assistance must be exhausted before DALHR can be considered.
 
Our friends at Cross Roads Church have been collecting and distributing donations.
 
Q:How do I find out if I’m eligible for disaster housing help?
 
A: To be eligible for federal disaster assistance, individuals and households must reside in a county that has been designated a federal disaster for individual assistance, such as Brazoria County. Your damage must be to a primary residence and must be a result of Hurricane Harvey.
 
First, register with FEMA by phone at 1-800-621-3362, online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or with the FEMA APP. You will be asked to provide basic information, including insurance coverage.
 
Q:Who can apply for help?
 
A: Anyone affected by Hurricane Harvey is encouraged to register with FEMA. You may be referred to a range of helpful programs in addition to FEMA assistance.
 
Q:What happens after I register?
 
A: The information you provide will be used to help FEMA determine whether you are eligible. In most cases, an inspector will come out to look at your damaged property. If you are eligible, the State of Texas, local government, and FEMA will work closely together to provide assistance.
 
Q:Who decides if manufactured housing units (MHUs) or travel trailers will be available in my community?
 
A: This is a state-administered, locally managed recovery. Local people are driving their own path forward. FEMA determines who is eligible for direct housing and works with local jurisdictions on housing options available in the community. Local jurisdictions decide about rebuilding in ways that meet the needs of their communities.
 
Q:What else is being done for disaster survivors?
 
A: Disaster housing programs have been active since the beginning of the disaster. Tens of thousands of Texans who registered with FEMA have received rental assistance, repair and replacement assistance and temporary hotel lodging assistance until more suitable solutions are found. In addition, voluntary agencies have assisted uncounted numbers of survivors.
 
I was honored to share my testimony with the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at a recent chapel service.
 
IMPORTANCE OF DOCUMENTATION
To the extent the damage to your home is covered by your insurance policy, the insurance company will want to have some evidence showing the damage to your home. However, it is also expected that, as long as it is safe for you to do so, you will take reasonable steps to mitigate further damage to your home. Accordingly, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
 
Document Everything!
  • Take several pictures/videos of the damaged areas which show the need for the temporary repairs.
  • Take pictures of any damaged appliances or electronics, including their bar code labels and identifying information.
  • Keep all receipts, invoices, and other evidence showing the costs of these repairs so that your insurer can take those into account when handling your claim.
  • Inform your insurance company of any temporary repairs you plan to make (in writing, including email, if possible).
  • Retain any materials that are removed from your home (e.g. carpet) for later inspection by the insurance company.
 
You may be able to safely make or hire someone to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home, such as putting tarps on your roof, boarding up windows, hiring a water extraction company, or removing flooring or sheetrock to reduce the chances of mold.
 
Make sure your house is safe to inhabit before returning permanently. Keep in mind, however, that if your house is uninhabitable, you may have coverage for additional living expenses too (e.g. hotel, restaurant, etc.). Also, if possible, such repairs should be limited to making the affected room(s) safe, not to completely repair them. If other, more permanent, repairs can wait (i.e. there is no safety or further damage issue), you may want to allow the insurance company to inspect your home before undertaking such repairs.
 
You can also share photos of damage by submitting them to the GLO here.
 
Enjoyed visiting with folks at the Alvin Manvel Area Chamber luncheon.
 
LOCAL GOODWILL EFFORTS
Pearland ISD & Alvin ISD Gift Card Drives
Over 500 students in Alvin ISD have been displaced due to Hurricane Harvey. In Pearland ISD, they had more than 240 students displaced and began a public campaign to collect gift cards and monetary donations to help those students and their families, as well as employees who were affected by Harvey. Pearland ISD has raised more than $65,000 to date! With the help of matching donations from State Farm, I was able to give $800 to both Pearland and Alvin ISD Foundations.
 
I was proud to present these $800 checks to each foundation (Alvin, top; Pearland, bottom) to support their students, teachers, and staff affected by Hurricane Harvey.
 
Below is the updated list of locations that those in need can go to for supplies and food:
Pearland Social Service Office (Salvation Army Location)
Operating Hours: 10 am – 6 pm.
2337 N. Galveston Ave.
Pearland, Texas 77584
 
Brazosport CARES
Operating Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 am – 11 am.
916 N. Gulf Blvd.
Freeport, Texas
979-239-1225
 
Holiday Lakes Municipal Complex
Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am – 5pm
195 N. Texas Ave. 
Holiday Lakes, TX 77515
 
First United Methodist Church
Operating Hours: Mon & Tue: 4pm – 7 pm / Wed 3:30 pm -6:30 pm / Fri 4 pm – 7 pm
219 N. Arcola
Angleton, Texas 77515
979-864-6767
 
Freeport Social Service Office (Salvation Army Location)
Operating Hours: 10am. – 4 pm.
1618 N. Ave. “J”
Freeport, Texas 77531
 
Salvation Army Distribution Center
Operating Hours: 1 pm. – 6 pm.
100 TX 332
Lake Jackson, Texas 77566
 
Brazoria County Dream Center
Operating Hours: 9 am – 11:30: Monday & Wednesday / 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Tuesdays & Thursdays
796 Brazosport Blvd.
Clute, TX 77531    
979-388-0280
 
St. Thomas Center
415 S Erskine St.
Angleton, TX 77515
 
It's heartening to see Texans helping Texans. Our friends from Marshall, Texas came by with a trailer full of supplies!
 
TOWN HALL MEETING
Please join me at a Town Hall Meeting next week!
 
Tuesday, October 10th
Rodeo Palms Clubhouse
33 Rodeo Dr.
Manvel, TX 77578
 
Follow along on Twitter using#ThompsonTownHallwith the handle@RepEdThompson.
 
The meeting is free to attend and open to all. I'll provide a brief overview of legislative issues from the regular and special sessions, address ongoing efforts, needs, and resources regarding Harvey, and set aside time for Q&A. For more information, contact 512-463-0707 or 281-485-6565.
 
 
Ed Thompson
District 29
 

 

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