Officials recently approved a contract that will provide over $1 billion in federal housing funds to Houston residents. The deal allows $1.17 billion to be taken from a $5 billion set of federal block grants. Houston’s City Council approved the agreement with the Texas General Land Office on January 2.
The deal represents a significant step toward recovery for Houston. Officials spent months debating how much of the $5 billion in grants Houston would receive. Discussions regarding how the money would be spent began in March of 2018 with an agreement finally reached in January of 2019.
What Will the Money Be Used For?
In December, Houston officials revealed an outline of how they would use the funds. Notably, the grant will be used to help homeowners fix their property and help house the displaced. Over $392 million will go into a homeowner assistance program. Through this program, residents will be able to apply for reimbursement for home repairs that have already been completed.
Much of the funds will go towards new housing. At least $321 million is devoted to affordable multi-family rental home building. Authorities hope to build between 1,500 and 3,000 new units in the next 6 years. An additional $200 million is dedicated to the construction of new single-family homes for those with low or moderate incomes.
With hundreds of families still displaced or dealing with damages, the housing funds are a relief for many Houstonians. Last December, the Houston Chronicle reported that families are still struggling to receive the funds they deserve from FEMA. If properly dispensed, this grant will be a milestone in the recovery of Houston. There is still work to be done, but Texas is rebuilding.
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