Harvey recovery services expand in Southeast Texas
The Texas General Land Office is adding five new locations to help homeowners apply for the Homeowner Assistance Program.
The program, which has been open for about a month, is expected to help repair and reconstruct owner-occupied single-family homes damaged by Tropical Storm Harvey. It’s the single largest housing program within the Land Office’s Harvey-recovery plan.
The new offices — in Shepherd, Woodville, Livingston, Orange and Kirbyville — will be open one day a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will have applicant coordinators to help residents through the process.
A complete list of office locations is on the General Land Office’s website.
“Now over a year since one of the worst natural disasters in Texas history we are still working on recovery efforts,” state Rep. James White said in a news release. “If you and your family are still in need of home repairs please submit an application as soon as possible online or at the center closest to you.”
White, a Republican, represents Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk and Tyler counties.
The Homeowner Assistance Program opened in late November. Since then, more than 900 Jefferson County applications have been submitted, General Land Office communications director Brittany Eck said.
Activities potentially eligible for the program included home rehabilitation, reconstruction, new construction, hazard mitigation, elevation and relocation assistance.
The majority of applicants are in the household eligibility confirmation phase. It typically takes 40 days to go through the first two review phases.
“The applicants currently undergoing property assessment should be submitted for final approval within the next two weeks and then the construction process can begin — should these applicants decide to participate,” Eck continued.
The first two households approved for construction are in Victoria and Rockport, however these regions received separate funding for the program so the homeowners aren’t competing for Southeast Texas funds.
Southeast Texas received about $205,000 for the program.
“Remember that 70 percent of these funds are required to benefit low-to-moderate income households,” Eck said. “We have had a great response in Southeast Texas, but we need folks to apply. You cannot benefit from the problem unless you apply and we anticipate having more applications than funds available.”
She said more having more applications than available funds would help the Land Office petition Congress for more money “noting that there is demonstrable unmet need.”