HOUSTON — As we mark the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston’s federally-funded housing recovery program is making progress. “Harvey was a devastating storm, with far-reaching impacts on the city’s housing stock, for both homeowners and renters,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “My promise at the start of this recovery is that we would not leave anyone behind. Our housing programs are delivering on that promise by serving the most vulnerable first.”
Housing and Community Development Director Tom McCasland added, “We know that disasters like Harvey hit hardest for people who have few resources to recover on their own. That’s why we’ve moved quickly to recover Houston’s affordable rental homes and put vulnerable seniors at the front of the line for home repair.”
Housing recovery updates:
- Six months after Harvey, Houston secured local control over more than $1 billion in federal funds for housing through a large sub-grant from the Texas General Land Office (GLO). This arrangement allowed Houston to develop its own local action plan for recovery that prioritizes the most vulnerable Houstonians.
- In November 2018, the City published a first-of-its-kind report on the impact of Harvey according to social vulnerability. This report showed that Houston needs $2 billion more in federal funding to meet the most serious unmet housing need.
- Mayor Turner launched the Harvey Recovery Survey in January 2019 to identify Houstonians who still need recovery help. The launch was accompanied by a large outreach effort that includes door-to-door canvassing in socially vulnerable areas; paid advertising online, in print, and on the radio; and community events. Almost 20,000 households have responded to the survey. Of these, 16,400 identify themselves as homeowners who are interested in the Homeowner Assistance Program (HoAP). To date, 4,999 homeowners have been invited to apply to HoAP. The Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) has increased its capacity by almost 100 staff and is working closely with the GLO to move these applications through the eligibility process. 93 homeowners have completed a feasibility assessment to determine their pathway in the program, 19 have signed grant agreements, and 15 homes are in construction or close to completion. HoAP is expected to run for 5 years and assist between 4,000 and 5,000 homeowners.
- Together with partners from workers’ advocacy groups and unions and with strong support from Houston’s Congressional delegation, the City announced the Build Houston Better Workforce Protection Measures in April 2019. These standards apply to multifamily developments funded with $350 million in the Harvey housing recovery budget. Protections for workers include: an hourly base wage of $15, workers’ compensation insurance, and safety certification training. The program also requires 10 percent of all project work hours to be done by workers registered in apprenticeship program and another 10 percent to be completed by low-income residents through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 3 program.
- In June and July, HCDD announced $91 million in awards for 11 multifamily developments. This investment will create 1,029 new or renovated apartments across Houston, more than half of which will be rented at guaranteed-affordable rates.
HCDD published its first Situation & Pipeline Report for HoAP today. The report includes data about program outreach, survey responses, invitations to apply to the program, and demographic information about respondents. The report will be updated monthly and posted at http://recovery.houstontx.gov.
Funds for Harvey Recovery Programs are provided by the City of Houston and the Texas General Land Office through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program.