Mayor Sylvester Turner applauds U.S. House passage of reforms of federal disaster recovery grants

Mayor Sylvester Turner today praised the U.S. House for approving a bill co-authored by Rep. Al Green of Houston to streamline, reform and formalize the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department recovery grant process for residents whose homes are damaged in disasters such as the Hurricane Harvey floods.

By requiring that HUD allocate disaster assistance money to recovering communities within 60 days of Congress approving the funding, the bill addresses, among several issues, the delays that frustrated the City of Houston and thousands of its residents during the more than two years since Harvey.

“I congratulate the House for passing the bi-partisan bill introduced by our own Congressman Green, a Democrat, and Congresswoman Ann Wagner of Missouri, a Republican,” Mayor Turner said. “Having experienced the Memorial Day floods in 2015, Tax Day floods in 2016, Harvey in 2017, and Imelda in 2019, Houston will be helped by the federal government having a speedier and more consistent program codified in law to help in future disasters.”

Disaster recovery reform is a key advocacy goal of the City. Chief Recovery Officer Stephen Costello said in testimony to Congress that the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery measure is critical to Houston.

The bill passed the House by a 290 to 118 vote Monday night and is being considered in the Senate, where its authors are Hawaii Democrat Brian Schatz and Indiana Republican Todd Young. It has been assigned to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

For more, see and Mayor Turner’s Texas Tribune Aug, 27, 2019 essay, “The federal government’s hurricane relief response needs an overhaul.”