Houston's mayor warns Harvey victims federal aid may not come until this summer unless Congress passes a hurricane relief package as part of its long-term spending plan.
Testifying before the Texas House Urban Affairs Committee at Houston City Hall Thursday, Mayor Sylvester Turner again asked to use the state's Rainy Day fund, citing Congress' delay on a hurricane relief package.
“If Harvey doesn't qualify for the Rainy Day fund, then what does?” he asked.
“What I've said to the governor and others is if it's not an outright grant, then simply provide the local governments with an advance, loan or however you want to describe it. And say to Houston, Harris County and others that when the money does come in from the feds, simply return it back to the state so they can put it back in the Rainy Day fund.”
“The cost has been well over $250 million and counting, we had to go out and get a suplemental insurance policy and added $10 million, and so that is gone,” said Turner. “We anticipate the cost overall to be about $2 billion to the city of Houston.”
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush urged storm victims to contact their members of Congress to pass a hurricane relief package.
“I understand there is big issues of the day, but our focus is serving our constituents,” said Bush. “This is above politics. This above party labels. People are still hurting.”
Roughly 10,000 people are still living in temporary housing since the storm.
Daphne Lemelle at the Harris County Community Services Department reminded the committee that many of the unincorporated areas were also hit hard by Harvey.
“A little over 30,000 single-family residences flooded, only 29 percent of those were within the 100-year flood plain, and 44-percent of those were actually outside the 100-year and 500-year flood plains,” she said.
“Upwards of 70-percent of these residences did not have flood insurance.”