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Homeowner program to launch Thursday

Staff report

AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is urging eligible homeowners in coastal Texas to prepare for the federal Homeowner Reimbursement Program, which will begin its application process Thursday.

In an issued statement, Bush encouraged applicants to visit the website, Recovery.Texas.gov/HRP, to learn program specifics and review the Homeowner Reimbursement Program Checklist to have all applicable documents ready prior to applying.

“Texans have proved incredibly resilient in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and many folks have poured their life savings into making their house a home again,” Bush said. “The GLO is working to spread the word that help is on the way. In advance of the application being released, we encourage interested homeowners to begin preparing documentation for potential reimbursement.”

The Texas General Land Office, which is coordinating federal aid to Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas, has allocated $100 million in Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to reimburse homeowners up to $50,000. The money is to pay back eligible out-of-pocket expenses incurred for repairs to their Hurricane Harvey damaged home, including reconstruction, rehabilitation or mitigation. Homeowners in Harris County and the city of Houston will be able to apply for other, similar programs funded by direct allocations, but not this one.

Southeast Texans from counties including Jefferson, Hardin and Orange may apply.

HUD requirements for this program are:

  • The home must be the owner’s primary residence.
  • The homeowner must be able to provide proof of damage from Hurricane Harvey.
  • The homeowner must be able to provide receipts and/or invoices for eligible repairs.
  • Eligible repairs must have been completed prior to the application launch date.
  • Additional criteria may apply.

In accordance with HUD requirements, homeowners are not eligible if:

  • The home is in a 100-year floodplain, was substantially damaged and is not at least 2 feet above the base elevation.
  • The home is in a 100-year floodplain, and the household income is greater than 120% area median income and homeowner did not have flood insurance on August 24, 2017.
  • Homeowner received prior disaster relief assistance for home located in a 100-year floodplain and did not maintain flood insurance.
  • The home is in a floodway, which is an area designed to flood.
  • The home may also not be eligible if there is asbestos or lead based paint that was not remediated.

Households that meet the low- to moderate-income (LMI) threshold will receive prioritized application processing for the first 30 days, but all homeowners are encouraged to apply immediately. Non-LMI households will be considered for eligibility in order of application submission.

Applicants will be able to submit all their application material electronically and the GLO’s program team will assist households that cannot submit electronic applications.

Potential applicants can also find in-person assistance at regional Homeowner Reimbursement Program offices serving their area. Locations will be announced soon.

For assistance, email cdr@recovery.texas.gov or call 1-844-893-8937.