Houston needs your input on Harvey recovery plans

Houston’s housing department is beginning a series of community meetings to inform its plan for how to spend $1.15 billion in federal dollars headed to the city to repairs homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

The first will run from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at 2506 Sutherland, near Wayside and Gulf Freeway. That is the headquarters of the Harris County AFL-CIO Council.

Times and locations have not been set for meetings scheduled on May 24 or May 25, for an expected meeting in southwest Houston on May 26, a May 29 gathering in Acres Homes, or for a June 2 meeting in Kashmere Gardens.

The Texas General Land Office has published its plan for the roughly $5 billion in funds that have been set aside for Texas. A brief spat in March between city and state officials eventually led federal officials to agree that Houston and Harris County each would secure lump sums of roughly $1.2 billion from that allocation.

The historic flooding that Tropical Storm Harvey unleashed on the US state of Texas is set to worsen, peaking in the coming days. A record 75 cm of rain has already fallen on the city of Houston forecasters say that could easily double. Storm Harvey which made landfall as a category-four hurricane on Friday bringing with it an unprecedented down poor is proving difficult to budge. Its expected to remain over state’s Gulf Coast for a while dropping about a years worth of rain in a week threats of flooding extending into neighbouring Louisiana. Tropical storm warnings have been extended into parts of the Louisiana coast as Harvey runs along the coast Tuesday into Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/lkLLHLUmJ4— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) August 28, 2017 Thousands of people have needed to be removed from their flooded homes. Police and Coast Guard teams have rescued at least 2,000 people so far, plucking them from roof tops by helicopters as they urged those marooned to hang towels or sheets outside to alert rescuers. Now the race is on to reach those before the waters rise again. Sylvester Turner, Houston Mayor said that the goal is rescue: That’s my directive, is that we want to focus on getting people where they are and getting them out of their homes or whatever their stressful situation maybe.” We’re with you, Texas. Here’s how you can help: https://t.co/x1uHLk6×2L #Harvey— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) August 28, 2017 Some 30,000 people in the city of Houston are expected to be left temporarily homeless, seeking shelter. And US emergency management officials said on Monday that more than 450,000 people are likely to seek some sort of assistance. President Donald Trump is to go to Texas later today. He has already signed a disaster proclamation for the state triggering federal relief funds and has now done the same for Louisiana. The storm has also hit oil production in the area. About half of the US’s refining capacity is in the Gulf region and shutdowns have extended across the coast taking around 2.5 million barrels of refining production off line.

Media: Brandpoint

The city and county must draft their own action plans before the long-term housing funds Congress approved last fall finally start flowing to local storm victims sometime later this summer.

Houston City Council will see a draft of the action plan June 1, followed by a public comment period and, finally, a June 27 council vote. The draft then will be sent to state and federal officials for approval.

Houstonians also are being asked to fill out an online survey; responses are confidential.

The meetings are scheduled largely in low-income areas in part because the funding comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is restricted in its use: 70 percent of the dollars must benefit people who make no more than 80 percent of the area median income, and none of the funds can benefit people making more than 120 percent of AMI.

Here is a chart of area median incomes by family size.

mike.morris@chron.com

twitter.com/mmorris011

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