Commission To Rebuild Texas Update: Issue 6
On the road to recovery this week, we celebrate an important milestone: All Texas public school districts have reopened after Hurricane Harvey. While some classes are being held in portable buildings as repairs continue, a small sense of “new” normalcy has returned. At Port Aransas ISD schools, patience and flexibility are the key words. To reinforce the value of those life lessons in one class, students competed to build the biggest free-standing tower—using marshmallows and spaghetti. But they weren’t just building towers. They were building teamwork. And when Texans work together, anything is possible.
– Governor Greg Abbott
Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas
- Because of the Commission staff’s daily outreach in impacted communities, as of Oct. 19, roughly 2,575 reports have been submitted from the field to the Assistance Center at Texas A&M. From those reports, the Assistance Center identified 577 issues needing follow-up or resolution, and all but five have been resolved.
- On Oct. 16, the Commission had 40 agents from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service receive training from the Texas Division of Emergency Management and FEMA on a wide range of technical matters. They were then immediately deployed to some of the hardest hit communities to assist with completing paperwork and other processes required for Public Assistance from FEMA. This surge of hands-on technical assistance will continue as long as communities need this help.
- Local jurisdictions must submit FEMA’s Request for Public Assistance form by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2017, to obtain federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures and damaged public facilities.
- As of Oct. 20, FEMA has received 672 Requests for Public Assistance from jurisdictions, and $401.1 million in Public Assistance funding has been obligated.
- The Texas Division of Emergency Management reports nearly 7.5 million cubic yards of debris have been collected.
- With a priority focus on speeding debris collection, at the request of Rebuild Commissioner John Sharp and on behalf of the impacted communities, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has opened an investigation into a number of debris removal companies to ensure performance obligations are fulfilled.
- The Texas General Land Office is working with the US Coast Guard to locate, inventory and remove from our coastal waters approximately 300 vessels damaged or sunk during the storm.
- The Texas Water Development Board is making $90 million in disaster recovery funds available for water, wastewater and storm water management facilities damaged by Hurricane Harvey, including $12 million in principal forgiveness and $78 million in zero-interest loans. Twenty percent of the zero-interest loans and 50 percent of the principal forgiveness will be reserved for disadvantaged, small and rural communities. To apply, submit a Project Information Form.
- The Texas Historical Commission is accepting applications from hurricane-damaged historic properties and archeological resources for Texas Preservation Trust Fund Emergency Grant funding until 5 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2017.
- At Governor Abbott’s request, FEMA’s deadline to register for Individual Disaster Assistance is extended to Nov. 24, 2017, for Texans in 41 designated counties.
- At Governor Abbott’s request, FEMA has extended Transitional Shelter Assistance providing short-term hotel stays to displaced survivors to Nov. 27, 2017, to allow more time to find an alternative place to live.
- Per FEMA, 878,016 individual assistance applications have been received as of Oct. 19.
- Per FEMA, $4.89 billion in federal funds have been provided directly to Texans, including FEMA grants to households, National Flood Insurance Program claims payments and SBA disaster loans, as of Oct. 19.
- Just 483 displaced Texans remain in three shelters; 61,135 individuals are taking advantage of FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance by staying in hotels.
- Per FEMA, 126,404 individuals have visited Disaster Recovery Centers for assistance as of Oct. 19; for current locations and mobile units visit fema.gov/DRC or download the FEMA app fema.gov/mobile-app.
- FEMA has completed 491,808 inspections, as of Oct. 19.
- Hurricane Harvey survivors looking for real-time information on recovery efforts in Texas can follow the FEMA Harvey Facebook page. FEMA has also launched a monthly newsletter focused on the Texas recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Subscribe here.
- For help with questions about insurance claims or settlements, or to report suspected insurance fraud, call the Texas Department of Insurance at 1-800-252-3439.
- Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 from the Small Business Administration to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury. The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is now extended to Nov. 24, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 25, 2018. disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
- TexasRebuilds.com is the housing information source for individuals and communities.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available in Caldwell and Grimes Counties; the application deadline is Nov. 13, 2017. The application deadline for the remaining 39 counties is Oct. 31, 2017. Details here.
- TWC Commissioners this week approved up to $4.5 million to support community colleges and technical colleges as they work to build the capacity needed for training efforts. TWC staff will be working to develop these grants.
- TWC has more than 10,000 disaster-related job openings available on HurricaneHarvey.jobs and WorkInTexas.com. A range of skills are needed for Texas disaster-related jobs, including construction, painters, sheet metal and landscape workers, as well as insurance adjusters, engineers, customer service representatives and administrative assistants.
- TWC has identified more than 17,000 Hurricane Harvey impacted jobs seekers in WorkInTexas.com
- FEMA is hosting a job fair in Austin on Oct. 28 and 29 to hire Texans to work on Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery. More than 300 jobs are available, with pay ranging from $14 to $37 per hour, depending on the position. Details here.
- All Texas public school districts have reopened after Hurricane Harvey. Aransas County ISD students returned to class Wed., Oct. 11, and Aransas Pass ISD and Port Aransas ISD students returned to class Mon., Oct. 16.
- Commissioner of Education Mike Morath has notified districts that TEA will adjust average daily attendance (ADA) for affected districts during the 2017–2018 school year.
- TEA offers a resource page for school districts with guidance on completing the Rebuild Texas Worksheet for prioritized federal funding requests: tea.texas.gov/Rebuild_Texas_Instructions/
Cutting Red Tape
- Governor Abbott extended the temporary waiver suspending rules relating to vehicle registration and inspection to allow Texans who reside in counties named in the federal disaster declaration to avoid penalties for failure to timely register a vehicle or obtain a vehicle inspection.
Texans Helping Texans
- The President George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation is hosting all five living former U.S. presidents at Texas A&M University’s Reed Arena for the Oct. 21 concert benefiting hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Musical guests include Alabama, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, the Gatlins and others.
- Almost 5 million volunteer service hours have been recorded by Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster members.
“The wonderful in people sure comes out after a disaster!” That’s just one of the comments posted in gratitude for the donations, including school supplies, teachers’ desks, bookshelves, projectors, spirit T-shirts, running shoes, bake sale proceeds and even school buses, that poured in to Port Aransas ISD schools prior to their reopening on Oct. 16. No school building on the elementary, middle school or high school campuses was untouched by the storm. The City of Port Aransas is setting up a portable gym floor in the Civic Center, also donated, so middle school and high school athletes can practice there. Return enrollment is up over 80 percent. And Marlin pride runs deep. Read more: https://www.facebook.com/portaransasisd/