Commission To Rebuild Texas After Hurricane Harvey Update: Issue 18
Hurricane Harvey was the worst of storms that brought out the very best in people. Six months after the storm’s devastation, we remain grateful for the lives saved, thankful for all who came to our aid, and focused on rebuilding Texas, even stronger than before. No force of nature is more powerful than Texans helping Texans. Together, we are #TexasStrong.
Governor Greg Abbott
Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas
- Governor Abbott again extended the State Disaster Declaration for 60 Texas counties affected by Hurricane Harvey to ensure continuing eligibility for assistance as communities recover and rebuild.
- Governor Abbott participated in a town hall discussion on the rebuilding process following Hurricane Harvey.
- Governor Abbott has requested from FEMA an extension beyond March 12 of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, providing short-term hotel stays to displaced survivors, to secure more time for survivors to locate alternate short- and long-term housing.
- The Commission to Rebuild Texas launched a Recovery Tracker showing how hurricane recovery funds are being used. “As the state continues to receive federal aid and devote necessary resources to our recovery efforts, it is important that Texans know where this money is going,” said Governor Abbott. “The Recovery Tracker is a good start in achieving transparency. I thank Commissioner John Sharp and the Commission to Rebuild Texas for leading on this project, and for all their continued work helping victims in need.” The Recovery Tracker can be viewed at rebuildtexas.today/recovery-tracker.
- Governor Abbott met with President Donald Trump as well as members of his Cabinet and other federal officials in Washington, D.C., to discuss Harvey recovery and the urgent need to get relief to Texans faster.
- The Governor also met with the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss rebuilding plans to minimize the impact of future natural disasters.
- Finally, Governor Abbott met with the Texas Congressional Delegation in Washington, thanking them for securing critical federal funding for the state as the rebuilding process continues. Governor Abbott also spoke of the state's extensive work in coordinating recovery efforts with FEMA and HUD. He encouraged the members to work with their communities to quickly submit important Public Assistance project requests to FEMA. The Governor assured the members that Texas will continue to work with all levels of government to help rebuild and get Texans all the resources they need to make a full recovery.
- Current individual assistance numbers are now posted on rebuildtexas.today/recovery-tracker.
- FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA): Some Harvey survivors have already received an auto-dial call notifying them they are no longer eligible for the temporary program. Survivors who are ineligible will need to prepare for checkout. Guests unsure of their continued TSA eligibility and check-out date can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY); log into their account on DisasterAssistance.gov; visit a Disaster Recover Center; or ask the front desk clerk to look in the CLC Lodging web portal.
- FEMA’s Disaster Distress Helpline offers trained professionals who can help callers cope with anxiety or stress, and guide them to available resources. This toll-free, multilingual and confidential crisis support service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 800-985-5990, 800-846-8517 (TTY) or text TalkWithUs (Spanish-speakers text: Hablanos) to 66746.
- Current housing numbers are now posted on rebuildtexas.today/recovery-tracker.
- TexasRebuilds.com is the housing information resource for individuals and communities.
- Follow Twitter.com/TXGLO for pictures of move-in days and updates on housing recovery.
- The Texas Department of Insurance’s Help After Harvey page explains consumer options to challenge an insurer’s estimate of damages or a claims denial. TDI can help with insurance questions and complaints through the Consumer Help Line at 800-252-3439, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. to Fri.
- Flood insurance must be maintained to qualify for federal assistance in the future. NFIP policyholders with questions may call 800-621-3362, Mon. to Sat., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For information, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.
- The Federal Housing Administration offers mortgage relief options to Hurricane Harvey survivors in Texas at 800-CALL-FHA.
Texans Helping Texans
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw last week presented awards for bravery and generosity during Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts:
- Director’s Award: Thanks to quick action, keen instincts and skilled rescue efforts, many lives were saved during the historic disaster. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Task Force One personnel used their respective expertise to provide search and rescue, disaster reconnaissance and logistical support. Lowe Boats, a Brunswick Corporation, generously donated 12 flat-bottom boats used to conduct rescues in flood water.
- Director’s Citation: DPS’ Aircraft Operations Division (AOD) activated search and rescue helicopters and, along with other DPS and state assets, quickly responded to the impacted counties. The AOD crews began hoisting isolated persons and those in need of immediate medical attention from rooftops and vehicles, and were responsible for rescuing 244 people while logging more than 275 hours of flying. At one point, more than 125 rescue helicopters from 10 different entities, including state, local and federal assets, were engaged in rescue efforts.
Director’s Citation: In the days leading up to Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, DPS’ Tactical Marine Unit (TMU) staff coordinated and moved state assets to safe locations. The TMU conducted search and rescue operations in the Rockport area and also conducted security patrols on the Intracoastal Waterway. TMU members also assisted in search and rescue operations. In total, the TMU worked more than 3,400 man hours, and rescued 209 people and 10 animals. In one of the incidents, a civilian boat carrying seven people swept into downed power lines, electrocuting all seven on board. The TMU responded and rescued three of the occupants (two other occupants survived, and tragically, two others died). In another incident, the TMU rescued a woman who had fallen out of her