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Texas Officials Plead with Administration to Release Billions in Harvey Relief Funds

If you are still struggling to obtain funds to fix damage from Hurricane Harvey, then you are not alone. Right now, Texas officials are asking for Washington to create a set of rules that will finally allow them to use $4.3 billion in relief funds. Though the Texas government has possession of the money, they are unable to use it until the federal government provides instructions for its allocation. Congress approved the $4.3 billion on February 9 of last year. Its purpose was to help low-to-moderate income families fix damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Since last year, Texas has been waiting for two bureaucratic bodies to approve guidelines for the use of the funds. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have neglected to create the rules needed for the money to be used. Now, with hurricane season once again approaching, state officials are pushing for the agencies to act as soon as possible.

Officials Begin to Push for Required Guidelines

Last week, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget and did not receive a response. So, last week, he called on the president asking him for help in the situation. Bush wrote, “This continued delay is resulting in homeowner distress, community degradation, and increased costs to the federal government due to subsequent damaging events” in his plea to the president.

Earlier this week, members of Congress joined the pleading and created a letter asking the Office of Management and Budget to expedite approval of the relief money’s use. Governor Greg Abbott and both Texan senators signed the letter to show their support for making the massive sum of money available for use. After two weeks of effort, no signs of progress have appeared.

What Is Holding Up the Funds?

Frustratingly, it seems like red tape is holding up the funds from being used. Bush has claimed that the HUD and the OMB blame each other for the delay. As hurricane season returns, officials are growing concerned low-income families will still be recovering from Harvey for reasons that are still unclear. In the meantime, thousands of people are waiting for help from $4.3 billion in funds that their government has but can’t use.