AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on April 17 announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had granted Texas' request to extend the deadline for Hurricane Harvey survivors to apply for transitional sheltering assistance.
The deadline has been extended from April 23 to May 31. The transitional sheltering assistance program helps displaced individuals who are unable to return to their homes find short-term shelter in hotels or other temporary housing locations.
“With many Texas families still unable to return home after Harvey, we are committed to ensuring they have a place to stay as the recovery continues,” Abbott said. “We will continue to do everything in our power to help Texans get back in their homes and get our communities rebuilt as quickly as possible. I thank our federal partners and FEMA for helping provide this important assistance for those in need.”
Officials discuss funding
Gov. Abbott on April 20 joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, and local officials in Houston to discuss the $5 billion recently allocated by Congress to Texas for Hurricane Harvey and disaster recovery.
Provided through the HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, the intended use of the grant funding is for the rebuilding of housing, businesses and infrastructure following Hurricane Harvey and previous flood events.
“Though Hurricane Harvey was the worst of storms, it brought out the best in the people of Texas,” Abbott said. “In each community, so many lives were saved because of the courage and leadership of local officials and the efforts of our incredible first responders. These funds will help give communities the resources they need to continue recovering, and I thank HUD Secretary Ben Carson, as well as all of our federal partners, for their ongoing support throughout this process.”
The funding includes:
• $652 million to help rebuild damaged homes, businesses and infrastructure.
• $4.3 billion for elevating homes, property buyouts, and hardening structures from wind and water to help protect Texas families from future storms; and
• $62 million to Houston and $24 million to San Marcos for mitigation of 2015 floods.
Former first lady dies
Former first lady Barbara Pierce Bush died in a Houston hospital on April 17. She was 92.
A funeral for Mrs. Bush, the wife of George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States, was conducted on April 21 at St. Martin's Episcopal Cathedral in Houston. Burial was in the family plot at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station on April 22.
Mrs. Bush was the mother of George W. Bush, 43rd president and former governor of Texas, and Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida. She was the grandmother of current Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
Gov. Abbott on April 17 said of the former first lady: “Barbara Bush dedicated her life to helping others. As only the second woman in history to be both the wife and mother of U.S. presidents, Barbara had a unique and profound impact on our country.
“Spearheading the fight against illiteracy, she created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, working to improve the lives of those less fortunate through education. Her selfless devotion to service defines the inspiring legacy Barbara has left behind. Her impact on Texas and our nation will forever be treasured.
“Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to President George H.W. Bush and the entire Bush family during this difficult time. We ask that all Texans join us in keeping them in their thoughts and prayers as they mourn the passing of a devoted wife, mother and public servant.”
Solar industry is studied
In the April issue of the Office of the Comptroller’s online digital publication, Fiscal Notes, the solar industry in Texas is examined.
According to the Comptroller’s Office, 532 solar companies and nearly 100 solar product manufacturers are located in Texas.
“There are still unknowns that may affect the industry, including the fate of federal tax credits and a recent tariff on foreign-made solar panels, but the long-term prospects for this industry seem bright as companies work to meet our state’s ever-expanding energy needs,” state Comptroller Glenn Hegar said on April 16.
Ed Sterling is director of member services for the Texas Press Association.