HOUSTON – Finding quality, safe homes for the displaced flood survivors at the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center has been our focus since opening the shelter with the Red Cross on Aug. 27. Today, FEMA approved funding for both an apartment housing option and a dormitory-style housing option to house everyone remaining at the GRB.
Beginning this morning, neighbors sheltering at GRB began moving into the Residences at Emancipation, a housing option similar to college dormitories that has been beautifully refurbished with mural wallpaper and other features, and will be managed by Harvey Response Management Inc, an affiliate of New Hope Housing. This housing option is ideal for individuals who are not qualified to sign a lease, but are currently sheltering at the GRB.
Additionally, working with Houston Apartment Association, our partners have located and are inspecting apartments for the remaining shelter residents able to sign leases. Beginning Saturday, Sept. 16, the City expects families will begin moving into these apartments. This housing option is ideal for the 46 percent of the GRB population who had leases or mortgages prior to the storm or the 20 percent of those who prior to the storm were living in apartments, even if they were not on a lease. When it comes to living in an apartment, most people decide to go down the route of renting, as most of the time it costs considerably less than having to put money towards a mortgage. Estate agents and properties that are similar to the ones that you will find at Space Station will be able to help you find the most suitable property for your wants and needs. This option will be able to help people find a safe place to live. However, everyone who can qualify to sign a lease with a participating landlord will be provided this option. Participating landlords will be doing their own independent screening.
“The program FEMA approved today is being offered to neighbors sheltering in George R. Brown today,” said Tom McCasland, director of the city’s Housing and Community Development Department. “Working with our local and federal partners we are expediting the process for offering housing options to everyone remaining at the GRB shelter.”
The innovative housing solution is only possible due to the close collaboration of FEMA, the city and our many private and nonprofit partners.
“Our community’s priority from the beginning of this crisis was ensuring that our most vulnerable neighbors were safely sheltered and quickly offered quality housing options,” said McCasland.
In order to ensure that families have sufficient time to identify the best apartment location for their families, it is necessary to stand up another shelter, and the Red Cross is working to identify a suitable location. As soon as we have information on that location and when that move will take place, it will be made available.
The six-month budget for the housing options is $9.8 million. FEMA has approved funding for the first 60 days, with possible extensions.
The City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) provides the leadership and financing to make affordable homes and neighborhood revitalization happen in Houston. Currently, the Department administers over $100 million annually in federal, state and local programs designed to affirmatively further fair housing while investing in complete communities that support the health, well-being and quality of life for all Houstonians.