Commission To Rebuild Texas Update: Issue 1

September 15, 2017 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

In every community I’ve visited since Hurricane Harvey first made landfall, I’ve been struck by the remarkable resilience of our local leaders and the people they serve. True strength of character is revealed when tested by adversity, and we are witnessing the incredible strength and spirit of Texas across the Gulf Coast region and beyond.

Our mission is clear. We will help displaced Texas families become whole. We will help our communities rebuild. We will act swiftly and cut through red tape. And we will improve the lives of all Texans by ensuring the continuing economic pre-eminence of the Lone Star State.            

– Governor Greg Abbott

 

Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas:

  • Governor Abbott and Commissioner John Sharp visited with local officials in a three-day, five-city tour.
  • Each county judge, mayor and school superintendent has a Texas A&M Extension Officer assigned to them.
  • RebuildTexas.Today launched as an additional information source for local officials.

Individual Assistance:

  • More than 735,000 individual assistance applications have been received by FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • More than $378 million in emergency funding has been issued.
  • The Small Business Administration has issued $172 million in small business loans.
  • The General Land Office will lead the state’s short- and long-term housing recovery efforts.

Jobs:

  • $30 million in grant funding is available to local officials to create temporary jobs to aid in recovery efforts.
  • FEMA is hiring Texans for recovery jobs across a range of fields. Applications accepted at WorkInTexas.com.

Schools​​​​​​​:

  • As of today, almost all students have returned to class in their district or a neighboring school.
  • 52 schools remain closed due to catastrophic damages; 234 others have significant damage; 678 some damage.  
  • A hotline is available for parents to call the Texas Education Agency with questions: (512) 463-9603.

Cutting Red Tape:

  • State agencies are extending deadlines and waiving late fees for occupational license renewals in the region.
  • Hotel and motel taxes remain suspended for relief personnel and victims of the storm statewide.

Rebuild Texas Fund:​​​​​​​

  • As of Sept. 10, donations to the Rebuild Texas Fund totaled $44 million. Donations from the Hand in Hand 2017 concert are being tallied. RebuildTx.org.

Community Spotlight: 

  • “We’re open for business.” That’s the message from the small Texas town of La Grange in Fayette County along the Colorado River that thrives on tourism. In the aftermath of flooding from Harvey when communication was difficult, the Facebook page for the La Grange Main Street & Tourism Bureau became an essential community bulletin board, coordinating food distribution and volunteers as well as posting health and safety notices. La Grange officials contacted their counterparts in New Jersey for lessons learned after Hurricane Sandy and developed a quick recovery action plan. Though more than 300 families are displaced and about 40 small businesses remain closed due to extensive flooding, the historic district is open and ready for visitors.