Under Commissioner Buckingham’s New Plan, Houston and Harris County Achieving Success with Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Funding
For the first time, both are on track to meet program benchmarks, infrastructure and mitigation funding see major milestones achieved with “New Dawn of Cooperation”
AUSTIN — Today, Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. announced, for the first time since Hurricane Harvey, under a new cooperative plan spearheaded by the Texas General Land Office (GLO), both Harris County and the City of Houston are on track to meet their program benchmarks with Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. Additionally, Harris County recently approved their method of distribution (MOD) for $750 million in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds from the GLO, of which $500 million in projects were identified and approved by Commissioners’ Court and submitted another for $322,033,863 in flood and drainage projects allocated by the GLO to the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD).
“My commitment remains steadfast, to serve the people we are meant to serve and do it well,” said Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. “This success is proof of my commitment to ensuring more than $3 billion dollars in funding is put to work to benefit the people who call Harris County and the City of Houston home.”
Both Harris County and Houston have semiannual expenditure benchmarks in their CDBG-DR funding contracts with the GLO, per HUD guidance. These milestones were set by the city and county and approved by the GLO to ensure all programs will be completed as timely as possible.
On June 6, 2023, the Harris County Commissioner’s Court unanimously approved a list of projects for $322 million in CDBG-DR funds and up to $502.5 million in mitigation funds as well as authorized the HCFCD to take all necessary actions to expedite the administration of the funding. This development follows a robust commitment to cooperation, which was highlighted in March with a joint press conference with several county leaders and Commissioner Buckingham in Houston.
Commissioner Adrian Garcia introduced Item 115 to the court stating, “I want to give a shout out to the GLO and Commissioner Buckingham for her support of Harris County and giving us a degree of trust.” Commissioner Tom Ramsey noted the fairness of the plan noting that it worked out to about 25% for each precinct and stated, “job well done by the whole.” Commissioner Lesley Briones echoed the sense of gratitude to HCFCD Director, Dr. Tina Petersen, and to Commissioner Buckingham for working together stating, “This is so wonderful that we were able to hit reset and really focus on the progress going forward.” Video is available of Commissioner’s Court discussing the item (starts at 6:07:00). The full list of the projects is available in this article regarding the funding from ReduceFlooding.com.
“Thanks to open communications and focused cooperation, we are proud to see new success with disaster recovery, housing, infrastructure and mitigation funding,” said Dr. Buckingham. “The GLO is dedicated to helping Harris County and the City of Houston put these vital funds to good use.”
The GLO has also seen success in administering the Homeowner Assistance Program, which has helped nearly 2,200 Houstonians and Harris County residents get approved for home rebuilding assistance and has completed nearly 1,400 homes. Overall, the GLO has rebuilt more than 10,000 homes for homeowners and renters in Texas since Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, the GLO completed the state’s first Homeowner Reimbursement Program having reimbursed about 3,000 Texas families for approximately $86 million in out of pocket repairs.
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