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

If you are currently struggling to obtain the funds you need to fix damage from Hurricane Harvey, then you should know that you are not alone. Right now, officials from the state of Texas are asking for Washington to create a set of rules that will finally allow them to use $4.3 billion in funds. Though the Texan government has possession of the money, they are unable to use it until the federal government provides instructions for its allocation.

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 and the Office of Management and Budget have neglected to create the rules needed for the money to be used. Now, with Hurricane season once again approaching, state officials are beginning to push for the bodies to act as soon as possible. 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.

Officials Begin to Push for Required Guidelines

Last week, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Push 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 when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Management and Budget blame each other for the delay. As hurricane season returns, officials are growing concerned the families will still be recovering from Harvey for reasons that are not even clear. In the meantime, thousands of people are waiting for help from $4.3 billion in funds that their government has but can’t use.