More than seven months after Hurricane Harvey, local entities and federal agencies are working together to bring relief to those who were affected by the storm.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were among those to address the public at an April 9 Harvey field hearing hosted by the House Committee on Homeland Security at The Berry Center in Cypress.
The committee, led by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, asked the federal representatives questions about how quickly they could move forward with various projects and programs. Officials with the Corps, which was provided $17.4 billion by Congress in February to carry out flood mitigation projects, were asked when they would release its plans for how to spend the money.
Colonel Lars Zetterstrom, commanding officer with the Corps’ Galveston district, said the Corps is working on projects the have already been identified for funding before launching into a study on how to properly assess future construction.
“In response to a 2013 dam modification study, the district is currently constructing new structures and new channels at Addicks and Barker dams,” Zetterstrom said. “This project is currently slated for completion in April 2020.”
Representative Gene Green said flood insurance is not an option for every citizen, and that more should be done to help those who do not have it.
“If you have constituency that typically are seniors and not wealthy, flood insurance is a luxury,” he said. “Their premiums are too high.”
Duyne said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created a strike team to provide resources for permanent and temporary housing in all areas affected by Harvey. The team is currently working with families, she said.
A recurring message committee members stressed to the federal officials was that citizens need help in the present, not months in the future.
“We want a direct payment to those counties,” Lee said. “We hope you can push back to Washington that they need to move.”