Congressman Al Green, Area Congressional Representatives Urge GLO to Ensure Houston, Harris County Receive Adequate Allocation of Harvey Funds Appropriated by Congress

May 27, 2021

(Houston, TX) — On Thursday, May 27, 2021, Congressmembers Al Green – Chairman of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation (TX-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), and Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29) held a press conference calling upon the Texas General Land Office (GLO) to ensure the areas worst hit by Hurricane Harvey receive the funds allocated by Congress. Congressman Green released the following statement:

“In no universe should the people of Houston and Harris County be denied a fair amount of funding for the harm suffered during the catastrophic flooding that occurred not only during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 but also other floods in 2015 and 2016 as well,” said Congressman Al Green who serves as Chairman of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation for the 117th Congress. “The GLO’s initial action plan was submitted and approved under the Trump Administration, not the Biden Administration. Whether with intent or by accident, Commissioner Bush is politicizing the needs of our constituents. Harvey was not a Democratic disaster, nor was it a Republican flood.”

“Blaming the Biden Administration is not a good strategy. The GLO must amend their state action plan and include a fair share of dollars for Houston and Harris County since each sustained major damage from Harvey. If the plan is not amended and subsequently approved by HUD, no one gets any money. GLO needs to amend its plan,” Congressman Green continued.

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $4.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program funds to the State of Texas. It is antithetical to the sense of fairness of people of goodwill to conclude that Houston as well as Harris County should have received $0 initially; and it is unacceptable to now propose that Harris County be allocated only $750 million of the $1.3 billion sought for the Houston region.”

Congressman Green concluded by stating, “I join my colleagues in calling on the GLO to ensure Houston and Harris County receive adequate funding to recover from Hurricane Harvey and to mitigate potentially severe impacts of future flood events.”

Background

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey deluged Harris County with 1 trillion gallons of water within a four-day period. Around the state, Harvey caused approximately $125 billion in damage, with Houston sustaining most of the statewide damage according to estimates of regional impacts.

Last week, however, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) sought to deny Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program funds to both the City of Houston and Harris County, which were the epicenter of Hurricane Harvey. Harris County is the only county in the State of Texas to experience three years of consecutive flooding disasters in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, GLO Commissioner George P. Bush said that he “directed GLO to work around the federal government’s regulations and allocate $750 million for mitigation efforts in Harris County,” ignoring the reality that no federal regulation compels — or permits — his complete denial of any CDBG-MIT funds to the most impacted areas of the state. Nor does Commissioner Bush’s statement mention the City of Houston, raising the question of whether the full $750 million – if approved – would go to Harris County or would be divided among the county and the city.

Congressmembers Al Green (TX-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), and Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29) stand in solidarity with both Harris County and the City of Houston to ensure that the GLO does what needs to be done and provides proportionate mitigation dollars for communities frequently impacted by flood disasters across both localities.