Commission To Rebuild Texas Update: Issue 7

October 27, 2017 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

This week we had opportunities to shine a light on some extraordinary Texans who selflessly answered the call to serve their neighbors. Among the five Americans recognized at the “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal” concert with a Point of Light Award for their volunteerism after Hurricane Harvey were Zachary Dearing of Rockport, and Murad Ajani and Kat Creech, both of Houston. They were honored on stage with all five living former U.S. presidents present. The First Lady of Texas and I were also proud to celebrate the winners of this year’s Governor's Volunteer Awards.

On the long road to recovery and rebuilding, not all the answers will be found in the halls of the capitols in Austin or Washington. The true source of our strength is found in neighbor helping neighbor.   

– Governor Greg Abbott

Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas

  • Governor Abbott, Chief Nim Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and FEMA officials briefed President Trump on recovery efforts. The president again renewed his strong commitment to stand with the people of Texas for as long as it takes, as families, businesses and communities rebuild.
  • Rebuild Texas Commissioner John Sharp, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Chief Kidd and other state agency leaders testified before the Texas Senate Finance Committee. Chief Kidd reported on the record speed of Public Assistance funding delivery from FEMA through the State, with $300 million provided to local government partners at the 30-day mark after Harvey hit.   
  • Chief Kidd, Governor’s office staff and other state agency leaders also testified before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs charged with reviewing the interaction between federal, state and local agencies in natural disaster response.
  • $472.6 million in Public Assistance funding from FEMA for state and local governments has been obligated, as of Oct. 26; FEMA has received 745 Requests for Public Assistance from jurisdictions.
  • Local jurisdictions must submit FEMA’s Request for Public Assistance form by 5 p.m. on Tues., Oct. 31, 2017, to obtain federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures and damaged public facilities.
  • Because of the Commission staff’s daily outreach in impacted communities, as of Oct. 26, roughly 2,957 reports have been submitted from the field to the Assistance Center at Texas A&M. From those reports, the Assistance Center identified 591 issues needing follow-up or resolution, and all but four have been resolved.
  • The Texas Division of Emergency Management reports nearly 8 million cubic yards of debris have been collected.
  • The Texas General Land Office and U.S. Coast Guard are working to locate, inventory and remove vessels damaged or sunk during the storm, including the 60-foot house boat removed from the canals at Key Allegro in Rockport seen in this video.

Individual Assistance

  • $5.83 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. 26.
  • 882,935 individual assistance applications have been received as of Oct. 26. FEMA’s deadline to register for Individual Disaster Assistance is Nov. 24, 2017, for Texans in 41 designated counties.
  • Although FEMA has extended the Transitional Shelter Assistance program providing short-term hotel stays to displaced survivors to Nov. 27, 2017, the next checkout date for some participants is Nov. 7. Participants eligible to continue in the program will receive a phone call from FEMA telling them what they need to do to remain at their current hotel or find a new hotel. Applicants must meet certain requirements to remain eligible.
  • 51,416 individuals are taking advantage of FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance, as of Oct. 27.
  • Just 29 displaced Texans remain in one shelter, as of Oct. 26.
  • 145,737 individuals have visited Disaster Recovery Centers for assistance, as of Oct. 26; for current locations and mobile units visit or download the FEMA app
  • FEMA has completed 519,007 inspections, as of Oct. 26.
  • More than 23,000 Harvey survivors have called the Cleanup Assistance Hotline: (844) 965-1386. More than 188 volunteer groups have completed 16,000 requests to muck and gut flood-damaged homes.
  • 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.
  • The filing deadline for loans from the Small Business Administration for property damage is Nov. 24, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 25, 2018.
  • is the housing information source for individuals and communities.


  • The Texas Workforce Commission has more than 10,000 disaster-related job openings available on  and
  • Oct. 28 and 29 is the last weekend the TWC Tele-Centers will be open for extended weekend hours. (800) 939-6631
  • The application deadline for Disaster Unemployment Assistance in 39 counties is Oct. 31, 2017. Details here.
  • Workforce Solutions Gulf Coast and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a Nov. 2 job fair for hurricane-impacted jobseekers. To secure an interview at the hiring fair for the 400 available jobs, individuals must visit a Workforce Solutions Career Office before Nov. 1. More information can be found at
  • The Texas Department of Insurance has job openings in Angleton, Corpus Christi, Houston and other cities.
  • TWC is hosting its annual Hiring Red, White & You! job fair for veterans in Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Houston, Victoria and other cities statewide on Nov. 9, 2017.


  • Commissioner of Education Mike Morath testified before the Texas Senate Finance Committee and reported that more than 100 school and district facilities were converted to shelters during Hurricane Harvey and the storm’s aftermath, with some housing more than 1,500 people. Additionally, several schools across the affected region used their food services to feed evacuees.
  • TEA offers a resource page for school districts with guidance on completing the Rebuild Texas Worksheet for prioritized federal funding requests:
  • Clarification from last week’s update: All Texas public school districts and charter schools are operating. Though not all original campuses have reopened due to severe damage, all students have access to a school – whether their original campus or a new location. 

Texans Helping Texans

  • The University of Texas-Austin and Texas A&M University basketball teams reunited their rivalry at Rice University to raise funds for No matter the final score, Texans won. The Rebuild Texas Fund has now reached over $78 million in donations.  
  • More than 3 million volunteer service hours have been recorded by Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster members. More than 3.3 million meals have been served.

Community Spotlight

“Volunteers and faith-based organizations are the backbone of disaster recovery in Texas. They always have been. They always will be.” That testimony shared this week at a Texas Senate committee hearing is witnessed every day in communities all across the region impacted by Hurricane Harvey as more than 3 million volunteer hours have been logged. In addition to 245 officially recognized shelters, local churches, schools and even retailers opened their doors to neighbors in distress. In Refugio, Joy Ministries sheltered 40 evacuees for three days. City officials provided a generator, and about 400 meals were served daily. After the Red Cross shelter opened, the church became a cooling station for workers and volunteers, and now continues its daily mission of helping neighbors.