Politics

Kolkhorst: Not Enough Priority Being Given To Hourly Workers In Housing Harvey Victims

FEMA will pay for contractors to work through Christmas and New Year’s building temporary housing for Texans displaced by Harvey. More than 8,700 families are still waiting.

An aerial view shows a home destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in Port Aransas, Texas, Aug. 28, 2017

State and federal crews will continue working through the holidays to provide housing for people displaced by Harvey. Land Commissioner George P. Bush updated the Texas Senate Finance Committee on the effort. Some senators used the opportunity to express their concerns about how long the process is taking.

Nearly 20,000 families still need temporary housing. Bush said FEMA and the General Land Office have authorized all contractors on the rolls to be reimbursed for work on weekends and federal holidays. "We're working deliberately and efficiently," he said, "and we understand the urgency of getting people back into their homes, even if it's on a temporary basis during the Christmas season."

That wasn't good enough for Senator Lois Kolkhorst. Kolkorst's district includes Aransas County, where Harvey made landfall. She said many low-to-middle income residents are still living in tents on the beach.

"It is the people that are the hourly workers," said Kolkhorst. "It is the school teacher in Aransas [County] ISD or Port Aransas ISD that are commuting back and forth and using all that gas money to go back and forth." She said such workers must be taken care of first, because without them the region's entire economy will collapse.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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