Another $151 million in federal funding is headed to Houston for Ike Recovery through the state’s General Land Office.
The money was allocated some time ago, but it took several months for city officials to determine how to use the funds and even longer for the state to actually release the money.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker says they decided to target specific areas, instead of trying to spread the money all
across the city.
“There’s a very hard reality, because of the enormous devastation caused by Hurricane Ike, there are still too many Houstonians and whole neighborhoods that are reeling from the impact and it has been three and a half years since the storm. This is a lot of money. Let me state right up front this is a lot of money, but it will not address every need.”
The city’s plan for using the money is to concentrate it in four neighborhoods: Acres Home, Independence Heights,
the Near Northside/ 5th Ward/ Denver Harbor/ Magnolia Park crescent and the Sunnyside/ South Park/ South Union
“These areas are historically disadvantaged. But they’re also areas where we have generations of commitment to home ownership, generations of commitment to working together to improve those neighborhoods and a committed corps of Houstonians that want to work together, with a little help from us, to make their neighborhoods better.”
About two-thirds of the money will be used to repair or rebuild 400-500 individual homes, while the other third of the funds will go to multi-family housing.
Neal Rackleff is acting director of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department.
“We’re going to be intelligent about it. Sometimes it makes more sense to do new development, sometimes it makes more sense to go in and do extensive rehabilitation of existing complexes, sometimes it’s important to do blight remediation and to do some demolition. And so we’re going to look at every possible way to raise these neighborhoods up.”
City officials say they don’t know yet when the construction will begin. They still have to work out a set of guidelines for eligibility.