Mayor's Office Press Release
City Transitions Flood Recovery Efforts from Temporary to Longer-Term Needs
May 13, 2016 -- The City of Houston is shifting its flood recovery efforts away from providing temporary housing to longer-term needs. As part of this effort, the City will cease paying for hotel rooms for flood victims who have registered and received financial assistance from FEMA at noon today. The hotel guests began receiving formal notification from the City about this change Wednesday.
“Using donations from the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund, the City was able to step in on a short-term basis to help the victims of the Tax Day floods who were suffering and had nowhere else to turn,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “FEMA is now here and financial assistance is available to those who register. It is time to let them do what they do best so the City is able to turn its attention to meeting longer-term recovery needs. We will not let people fall through the cracks. We will be here today as well as tomorrow.”
As the mayor has promised, the storm relief fund will not be used to duplicate government services. With that in mind, the City has been coordinating with FEMA and community partners to get storm victims registered for disaster assistance. As of today, almost all of the 167 households that had been staying in hotel rooms provided by the City had registered and more than half have already received disaster recovery checks from FEMA that can be used for rental assistance, vehicle repair and many other services. The remaining applicants are receiving priority processing by FEMA.
Even if denied FEMA rental assistance, there may be other financial assistance available at the Disaster Recovery Centers. In addition, the DRC(s) have lists of apartment units available for lease. Cab vouchers and bus passes are being made available to help with the transition and transportation to a DRC. A list of DRC locations is available at www.houstonrecovers.org. As always, the Mayor’s Office remains ready to assist flood victims who have questions regarding the status of their FEMA applications, available apartment units and other needs.
As the City shifts its focus to more long-term needs it will continue to rely on the storm relief fund. More than $1 million has already been donated to the fund by various corporations and individuals. Mayor Turner has teamed up with multi-Platinum selling country music star, Clay Walker, and Joel and Victoria Osteen for a concert benefiting the fund on May 20 at 8 p.m. at Lakewood Church. Headlined by Walker, the event will feature a talented line-up of locally and nationally known musicians, celebrities and community leaders. A donation at the door is all that is necessary to attend. Those watching the live broadcast on KTRK-ABC 13 or listening on SiriusXM Joel Osteen Radio, channel 128 and others not in attendance will be able to give by texting HOUSTON to 91999 or by check to the Greater Houston Community Foundation / Greater Houston Storm Relief Form; via wire or money transfer and credit card. All details can be found at www.houstonrecovers.org.
The relief fund is being administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation (GHCF), a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity.