Despite being the hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey damage in 2017, the Texas General Land Office announced last week that both Houston and Harris County will not receive federal flood mitigation aid after requesting $1.3 billion.
The funding is part of a program run by the GLO, giving cities and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey funds to support flood mitigation projects and proposals to improve local response to natural disasters.
George P. Bush, Texas Land Commissioner and chief executive of the GLO blamed local leaders for failing to secure any piece of the $1 billion in federal flood mitigation funds tied to Hurricane Harvey.
While still waiting for the end of the legislative session for to make an official announcement, Bush has indicated that he may run for attorney general, challenging Ken Paxton for the statewide seat. Bush has scheduled a campaign kickoff for June 2nd.
To access the resources, eligible cities and counties submitted applications and competed for the available funds which were then awarded to the state by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, instead of allocating the aid to the most affected areas, about $1 billion in U.S. Housing and Urban Development funds will flow to other local governments in 46 southeast Texas counties.
Municipalities like Pasadena, Jacinto City, Galena Park and Baytown will receive about $90 million combined.
“For the State GLO not to give one dime in the initial distribution to the City shows a callous disregard to the people of Houston and Harris County. It is unfathomable that the GLO would redirect most of these dollars to areas that did not suffer much from Hurricane Harvey” tweeted Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner.
Since last Thursday, local officials have been in communication with the federal government urging the Biden administration to stop the process and reconsider the direction of the funds.
“This is not about some paperwork; this is not about not scoring as high,” Mayor Turner said. “This is about state leaders intentionally deciding not to allocate one single dime to local communities that were substantially impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”