Mayor's Office Press Release
City Launches Program to Repair Tarp-Covered Roofs
September 9, 2016 -- The roof lines of Houston’s neighborhoods will soon be less blue, thanks to a new program to repair storm-damaged roofs, many of which have been covered with tarps since Hurricane Ike in 2008. Unofficially dubbed the “Blue Tarp Program,” the initiative targets all repairable storm-damaged roofs, regardless of tarp color or when damaged, for homes of households earning 120 percent or less of Houston’s Area Median Income (AMI). For a single-person household, this is a maximum income of $58,150, or $83,050 for a family of four.
“By the end of this year, we will have those tarps gone and those roofs repaired,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We can’t build a city of complete communities when so many of our citizens can’t count on the roof over their heads to keep them dry in a storm,” the mayor added.
The program targets income-qualified homeowners with damaged, but repairable, roofs. Many of the homes still covered with tarps from Hurricane Ike need to be demolished and rebuilt, not repaired. The city Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD), which is conducting the Blue Tarp Program, classifies a home as a tear-down if it has more than $65,000 in damages. There are other city programs for these homes.
To identify homes that qualify for the Blue Tarp Program, HCDD is using aerial photography that shows tarps on the roofs, and then sending out teams to drive neighborhoods for closer visual inspections. If an inspection shows the roof can be repaired, the resident is interviewed and an application is completed, frequently on-site at the first visit. If the resident is not home, information in English and Spanish is left indicating how to request assistance.
“While the program aids households earning up to 120 percent of area medium income, we are finding that most of these homeowners are far below that, around 50 percent,” said HCDD Interim Director Tom McCasland. “They have waited a long time for help, and we don’t want them waiting any longer. For most of them, it will be no more than two weeks from our first visit to pulling nails on the roof,” McCasland said.
To complete the roof repairs, the city is contracting with Rebuilding Together Houston, a non-profit agency that has been providing home repair services since 1982. HCDD is qualifying the homeowners and Rebuilding Together Houston is providing the professional labor to complete the repairs.
The blue tarp program is the city’s third initiative to assist Houstonians impacted by Hurricane Ike. Disaster Recovery Round One provided $81 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds for housing activities and assisted nearly 3,000 Houstonians, providing repairs to single family and multifamily homes as well as down payment assistance to families seeking new homes. Disaster Recovery Round Two, which is currently underway, has $122.5 million in CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for the repair or reconstruction of approximately 300 single-family homes, 258 of which are already completed, and 1,088 multifamily homes.
While many of the homes to be repaired through the Blue Tarp Program were initially damaged in Hurricane Ike, any tarp-covered roof of income-qualifying homeowners will be considered. Rental properties do not qualify. For information about the program or to determine if you qualify, contact the HCDD Call Center at 832-394-6200.