Updated Draft Guidelines Expand Program Eligibility for Housing Relief for Harvey Victims
HOUSTON —The City of Houston is proposing to expand eligibility for Hurricane Harvey victims to receive federal funds for housing repairs.
The City’s programs for long-term housing recovery from previous disasters have only been available to households below 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Recognizing that some of the worst flooding from Harvey occurred in higher-income areas of Houston, the program guidelines have been revised to remove the income cap for a portion of Homeowner Assistance Programs (HoAP) funds from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD).
The city’s proposed guidelines have been updated from the version posted on October 16, 2018 to expand eligibility for the reimbursement program, one of five programs included in the HoAP guidelines. The public comment period closes on November 30, 2018. The draft guidelines and associated public notice are available at http://houstontx.gov/housing. The guidelines will be submitted for City Council approval in December.
“With our limited resources, our highest priority must continue to be helping the most vulnerable and lowest income Houstonians to recover,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “But Harvey hit hard for Houstonians at every income level. So while 80% of the more than $1.17 billion in recovery funds will be available for families who are low- and moderate-income, we are also making $150 million available for families above this threshold.”
The City of Houston will receive $1.17 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for assisting in long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The City expects to sign a grant agreement for these funds with the Texas General Land Office (GLO) by the end of 2018. To receive this funding, the City submitted a Local Action Plan, approved by City Council, to the GLO, which has been incorporated into the State of Texas Plan for Disaster Recovery: Hurricane Harvey. The plan was the subject of extensive public input and comment and is available at http://houstontx.gov/housing.
The City of Houston’s Local Action Plan includes $392 million for five programs under HoAP:
- Reimbursement: Homeowners who have completed partial or full repairs on their home may be eligible for reimbursement of eligible expenses incurred prior to application to the program, for work performed to minimum program standards.
- City-managed Rehabilitation and Construction: The City will manage and complete the construction process for the rehabilitation or reconstruction of Harvey-damaged homes on behalf of homeowners.
- Homeowner-managed Rehabilitation: The City will assist homeowners who have started the process, or who can manage a contractor, to navigate program compliance requirements and funding processes.
- Acquisition: Owners of substantially damaged homes may be eligible to exchange their homes for a newly constructed or rehabilitated home built to flood resilient standards.
- Interim Mortgage Assistance: Interim Mortgage Assistance (IMA) may be provided to homeowners being serviced under the HoAP who are making both a mortgage and a rental payment.
As with all programs for housing recovery, the primary purpose of these funds is to support the expanded availability of affordable housing in Houston for low- and moderate-income (LMI) people. An individual or family is considered LMI if its household income is less than 80% of AMI. Click here for a summary of AMI at different family sizes. It is anticipated that 80% of the overall housing recovery funds will support LMI persons within the City of Houston.
Across all program areas, the City will prioritize the most vulnerable Houstonians and those least able to recover on their own. The draft guidelines identify four priority populations: 1) elderly or disabled LMI households; 2) LMI households with young children under age 5; 3) very low-income households (below 50% AMI); and 4) households under 80% AMI. Extensive community engagement and an in-depth needs assessment affirm that low-income households have been the least able to recover from Harvey, with the highest risk for households still living in mold or otherwise dangerous conditions more than a year after the storm.
Because of the above priorities, the primary program area for non-LMI households will be reimbursement. To maximize the number of individuals and families assisted under these programs, the draft guidelines cap individual awards for non-LMI households.
Reimbursement Program Summary – Homeowner Assistance Program (HoAP)
|Household Income||< 80% AMI||80 – 120% AMI||> 120% AMI|
|Funding available – HoAP overall||$242 Million||$150 Million (combined pool 1/2)||$150 Million (combined pool 2/2)|
|Maximum % of household need met – reimbursement program||100%||50%||25%|
|Cap on reimbursement per household||$80,000||$40,000||$20,000|
|Priority households||LMI households (HH) who are elderly/disabled, LMI families with children under 5, LMI HH||N/A||N/A|
|Target number of households served, reimbursement*||2,000 – 3,000||2,500||2,500|
*Based on applicant needs
Public comments on the draft guidelines may be submitted by email to: Kennisha.London@houstontx.gov or by mail: HCDD, ATTN: Kennisha London, 601 Sawyer, Suite 400, Houston, TX 77007. View the draft at:
- HCDD website http://houstontx.gov/housing
- Main Public Library – 500 McKinney, 77002
- HCDD Office – 601 Sawyer, Suite 400, 77007 (copies may be obtained at this location upon request)
To learn more about CDBG-DR and upcoming events related to disaster recovery, please call 832.394.6200 or visit www.houstontx.gov/housing.
For specific questions or concerns about fair housing or landlord/tenant relations, please call Yolanda Guess-Jeffries at 832.394.6308.