You may have noticed a new design to our recovery website. In response to feedback from residents, we’ve been working throughout the summer to make the website more user-friendly. Some new features:
- Search bar so residents can easily look for the information they need
- Streamlined menu to emphasize programs that are currently underway
- Additional navigation option for homeowners to check their status in the program
- A transparency page where our monthly situation & pipeline report is posted with program and demographic data for the Homeowner Assistance Program
- Recovery spotlight section to highlight progress
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a lot to say about disaster recovery websites and making sure that information is available to the public. In the Federal Register Notice published in February 2018, HUD says that jurisdictions administering Hurricane Harvey recovery funds should maintain a public website that’s updated at least monthly and has information about:
- The recovery action plan
- Citizen participation information and reporting
- Contract and procurement documents
- How to check your application status
- Performance reports
- Program information and procedures
The Housing and Community Development Department hired its first dedicated web designer, Matthew Johnson, to lead the website redesign. Matthew previously worked at the University Eye Institute at the University of Houston and has a passion for helping people through technology. Matthew presented the website to HUD officials in Houston over the summer and received valuable feedback about how to make the website more user-focused. We also drew on lessons about how to make government programs more accessible from sites like gov.uk and restore.la.gov.
If you have comments or suggestions about the website, please contact Matthew at Matthew.Johnson@houstontx.gov.