HUD Secretary Ben Carson's Visit to West Houston
by John Culberson on April 26, 2018 at 2:02 PM
I’ve never been prouder to be a Houstonian than when we all stepped up to help each other during Hurricane Harvey. It was a great privilege for me to be a part of that effort.
As your representative and as a Subcommittee Chairman on Appropriations, I was privileged to spearhead the passage of the hurricane relief bill in the House, and I ensured that the Army Corps of Engineers has the largest appropriation of money they’ve ever received for hurricane flood relief. In fact, there’s enough money in the hurricane relief bill to finish every federally authorized flood control project in Harris County.
While we still have a lot work to do, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently allocated $5 billion for Hurricane Harvey recovery through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program. This money will go a long way towards rebuilding our homes, businesses, and infrastructure following Harvey and previous flood events.
Last Friday, I thanked HUD Secretary Ben Carson for cutting the red tape to get the money out the door as fast as possible so that our neighbors can rebuild their homes and lives, and so that Harris County can reconstruct our flood control system to protect future generations against devastating floods like Harvey. From selling assets to pulling from personal savings, pensions and individual retirement accounts, our neighbors have exhausted every option to try to rebuild on their own. These CDBG-DR grants will provide badly needed relief as we press ahead on the road to a full recovery from the storm.
I told Sec. Carson that I needed to show him the hardest-hit areas of West Houston – places where our neighbors are still living on the second floor of their homes with the sheet rock torn out on the first.
On Saturday, I introduced Secretary Carson to some of our West Houston neighbors from Fleetwood, Nottingham Forest, and Ashford Village so that he could see and understand just how badly our community needs additional funds to rebuild. We pressed Dr. Carson to do whatever is necessary to keep the CDBG-DR grants flowing, and to make sure that these funds are not means tested nor tied to specific tasks. Secretary Carson understands that the best people to administer our precious and hard-earned tax dollars are locally elected officials, who are currently developing a plan for this grant funding.
We also discussed the need to re-offer the expired Direct Assistance for Limited Home Repair (DALHR) program, which provides funding to Texans, who lack available resources, to make moderate home repairs. I committed to ask Commissioner George P. Bush to re-open the DAHLR program, and I will keep you updated on the status of this program. To find out if you are eligible for DALHR, you can call FEMA at (202) 646-2500.
It was especially meaningful to show Secretary Carson West Houston's subdivisions, and he told me that he will not forget he saw. I will continue to work with him to make sure funds are dispersed as quickly aa possible to help Houstonians rebuild, repair, and prepare our community for any future storms.
Please see below for photos from the visit.