The city of Friendswood received notice that it is on the “approved alternate” list for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, meaning the city will receive funds if enough are available. The grant would help fund buyouts and elevations for homeowners who applied.
“Suffice it to say I am disappointed that our residents are still in limbo awaiting the resolution to a very dramatic set of events that occurred to them during Hurricane Harvey,” Friendswood City Manager Morad Kabiri said.
The city does not know when grants will receive funding or what grants will receive funding. In the meantime the city suggests homeowners who applied for aid through this program call their elected state officials as well as the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which decides how to distribute the grant funds.
The city also sent in an application for the Community Development Block Grant for infrastructure projects in the Harris County portion of the city. Friendswood has applied for funding for two projects: one elevating the Whispering Pines bridge over Clear Creek and the other building an emergency shelter on the Harris County side of the city.
The bridge would cost roughly $8.5 million, and the emergency management center would cost over $2 million. With only $4.4 million available from the grant, the city would need to come up with the difference in funding if the projects are approved.
“Ultimately the bridge itself is in excess of it, so that is a project where we would have to find additional partners, or we would go out for a bond election ourselves to fund the difference,” Kabiri said. “Not knowing what is going to be approved, we can’t quite formulate what to do immediately next, but as we get word back we will obviously then put the proper things in place so that we can get the projects moving forward.”
The city is putting together an application for infrastructure and housing for the Galveston County side of Friendswood, Kabiri said. Harris County is working on putting together a housing program in which residents would apply directly for aid, without the city acting as a middleman, Kabiri said.
“We can’t get answers soon enough,” Kabiri said. “We still have folks that have not quite recovered from Hurricane Harvey, and each of these programs are vital to our recovery.”