Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Leads Effort Urging Houston-Galveston Area Council To Fairly Allocate Flooding Funds
Washington, August 24, 2022
Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) led her Houston colleagues in sending a letter to the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) expressing concern for its proposed funding distribution plan for funds Congress appropriated that the General Land Office has allocated to H-GAC for distribution. In February, the H-GAC board voted to allocate only two percent of total funding to the City of Houston for flood recovery, denying the congressional intent of the funds, which was to help the areas most impacted by flooding in 2015, 2016, and 2017, including Hurricane Harvey. Recently, the H-GAC board proposed Harris County and cities within it, including the City of Houston, should not receive any funds.
“After seeing the results of the H-GAC board’s vote in February, we are concerned that the decision to allocate only $1.9 million to the City of Houston will fail the communities most impacted by Harvey and prior storms and leave those communities even more vulnerable to future disasters,” the letter reads. “This proposed allocation denies the intent of the Congress that appropriated the funds and leaves the City of Houston, which makes up 30% of the region’s population and almost 50% of the damages from Hurricane Harvey, with approximately 2% of H-GAC’s available funds.
“We are further concerned by the board’s discussions to deny H-GAC funding to any cities within Harris County if the Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) Action Plan Amendment 1, which awards $750 million to Harris County, is approved,” the letter continues. “Without approval of this plan and a method of distribution with which Harris County will allocate those funds, it is not a responsible approach for H-GAC to consider reducing the current allocation to zero.
“On behalf of our constituents, and having consulted local leaders and experts, we ask H-GAC to award funds to the City of Houston based on Congressional intent, focusing on the regions most impacted by the flooding in 2015, 2016, and 2017. There is no reason the City of Houston should receive only 2% of available funds after suffering nearly 50% of damages,” the letter concludes.
The City of Houston and Harris County have repeatedly been denied their fair share of funding that Congress authorized following Hurricane Harvey. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 appropriated $12 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds for hazard mitigation activities in response to qualifying disasters in 2015, 2016, and 2017, including Hurricane Harvey. The Texas General Land Office (GLO) administered these federal flooding dollars and created both competitive and formula funding opportunities for local governments. After denying Harris County and the City of Houston any competitive grant funds, the Texas GLO announced Harris County and the City of Houston would be granted $0 in formula funding. Congresswoman Fletcher joined with her colleagues in May 2021 denouncing this plan and advocated for the City of Houston to receive its own allocation after the GLO amended their plan and proposed $750 million for Harris County.
In June 2022, the Department of Housing and Urban Development found GLO discriminated against minority residents by utilizing a scoring method that disadvantaged urban counties and Black and Hispanic residents.
Congressman Al Green and Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia joined Congresswoman Fletcher in the letter. To read the full text of the letter, click here.