U.S. Representative Al Green slams Texas General Land Office’s latest delay in Harvey’s mitigation funds

U.S. Representative Al Green, D-Texas, said it was “deeply regrettable” and “painful” that due to incomplete documentation, federal funding has once again been denied to poor communities devastated by the hurricane. Harvey.

“(The Department of Housing and Urban Development) requires the state-approved (general land office) to submit their plan,” Green said. “And in that plan, there must be an analysis of how racially and ethnically concentrated areas as well as poor areas are going to benefit from these funds.”

Green made his comments at an ad hoc press conference Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after HUD halted distribution of the $1.95 billion, saying the GLO had not submitted documents detailing how he planned to use the money.

According to HUD’s Jan. 7 letter to the GLO, “Amendment 1 to the State Action Plan does not include the required assessment of how the use of HUD’s block grant mitigation funds Community development can affect members of protected, racially and ethnically concentrated classes”. and areas of concentration of poverty”, which makes the plan “substantially incomplete”.

In the letter, HUD said GLO had 45 days to resubmit the missing information.

“Suffering is at the mercy of those who are comfortable,” Green said. “And if the people making these decisions were as uncomfortable as the people who are suffering, that would have been taken care of.”

Green said the GLO’s delays and inaction had prevented much-needed federal money from reaching inner-city neighborhoods for too long. Green is referring to the $4.3 billion that was granted to Texas in 2018 after Hurricane Harvey. He said half of the amount remains unallocated. The Governor of Texas appointed the GLO to oversee the distribution of federal money. About $1.95 billion has been allocated for flood mitigation projects.

“The GLO submitted the documents in question – 628 pages of meaningful analysis,” said Brittany Eck, director of communications for GLO. “This is Appendix H of the Action Plan Amendment. This is a purely political decision since HUD informed the Houston Chronicle more than an hour before he informed his beneficiary, the State of Texas.

Eck said HUD was responsible for the heist and that the department’s disapproval of GLO’s plan was a mark of its partisan politics.

“The action plan amendment that is currently being held up by HUD would give $750 million directly to Harris County,” Eck said. “This funding allocation is pending HUD approval in addition to $488 million for H-GAC for Houston-area regional mitigation projects.”

“The GLO’s definition of ‘analysis’ does not coincide with the HUD’s definition,” Green said in response. “That’s why they are at loggerheads. If (the GLO) contacted HUD, as requested by the letter, they could better understand what HUD wants. The GLO seems to indicate that “we did everything that was required of us” and if they continue to say that, we will remain in this twilight zone where we do nothing.”

Green added that if the GLO did not comply, he was prepared to file legislation to have Houston and Harris County directly funded by the federal government.

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Gregory M. Roy