Houston, TX

City of Houston and Harris County leaders express disapproval of General Land Office plan

Marisol Gallagher

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Mayor Sylvester Turner, County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and all members of the Houston City Council and Harris County Commissioners Court send a letter to the State General Land Office (GLO) on Wednesday morning, May 26, 2021.

The letter contains the authorities' disappointment of the fact that the flood mitigation funding (CDBG-MIT) for the City of Houston and Harris County was denied by the GLO, as well as requests to Commissioner George P. Bush to reconsider the decision and "allocate the CDBG-Mitigation funding based on the proportionality of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey."

"Dear Commissioner Bush," the letter begins.

"As elected leaders for our community, we write today to express our profound disappointment by the announcement of the General Office regarding the lack of flood mitigation funding (CDBG-MIT) for the City of Houston and Harris County. Having lived through Hurricane Harvey as residents of this community, we simply cannot accept this decision from your office."

"As you are well aware, the Bipartisan Budget Ast of 2018 made $28 billion available in disaster recovery funds and directed the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to allocate no less than $12 billion to mitigation activities nationwide (Proportional to the amounts that CDBG-DR grantees received for qualifying disasters in 2015, 2016 and 2017). Out of $12 billion available for mitigation activities, $4.3 billion were allocated to the state of Texas."

"Harris County, which includes the City of Houston, is identified as the only county that experienced consecutively 2015, 2016, and 2017 flood disasters."

"The City of Houston and Harris County account for over 50 percent of the damage from Hurricane Harvey. It is because of the damages that HUD awarded $4.3 billion in mitigation funding to Texas."

"We ask you to reconsider your decision, to immediately revise your metrics, and allocate the CDBG-Mitigation funding based on the proportionality of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey," the letter ends.

Mayor Turner and Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis also sent a letter to The Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

They have followed up by having a conversation regarding an overview of Hurricane Harvey's severe impact on the city of Houston, where the Mayor outlined that the evaluation criteria and matrix that GLO used in determining the allocation of $1 billion left zero dollars to Houston.

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