League City Council Members unanimously approved a resolution at their April 24 meeting requesting that the State of Texas pursue a waiver to the requirement that 70 percent of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery (CDBG-DR) funds be used to support low-to-moderate income individuals. A waiver would make more League City, Friendswood, and Dickinson residents, many of whom are still recovering from Harvey, eligible for federal disaster assistance. Approximately 20 percent of League City residents are considered moderate-to-low income.
“Many households and communities across the state, including League City, continue to struggle with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, regardless of income levels,” said League City Mayor Pat Hallisey. “Maximum flexibility in the use of CDBG-DR funds is essential to ensure a robust and lasting recovery in our city and to help our community better prepare for future storms.”
In addition to the council’s resolution, Mayor Hallisey, along with Mayor Julie Masters of Dickinson, Texas and Mayor Kevin M. Holland of Friendswood, Texas have co-authored and signed a letter to Governor Greg Abbott and Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, George P. Bush, asking that the State extend the deadline for public comment on the Texas Plan for Disaster Recovery and pursue maximizing flexibility in the use of HUD Disaster Recovery Grants.
The letter specifically asks for four actions:
- Extend the comment period beyond April 25, 2018 to allow for more time for the public to comment on the State of Texas Plan for Disaster Recovery.
- Request of a waiver from HUD or by State Administrative action, if sufficient authority exists, to seek a reduction in the 70 percent overall benefit requirement.
- Request of a waiver from HUD or by State Administrative action, if sufficient authority exists, to seek a reduction or removal of the low-to moderate income benefit requirement for infrastructure projects.
- Expand the proposed State-administered housing recovery program to include opportunities for regional and locally-administered housing recovery programs.
“Based on our experience with previous recovery efforts during hurricanes, restricting funding to activities that only benefit low-to-moderate income persons results in disparities in housing recovery assistance and can prevent the implementation of critical infrastructure and mitigation projects that benefit entire communities,” said Hallisey.