Houston took a critical next step in its recovery from Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday after officials approved a contract that will release more than $1 billion in federal housing funds.
The $1.17 billion deal between Houston and the Texas General Land Office represents the city’s share of more than $5 billion in federal block grants. It was approved by the City Council on Wednesday.
Council did not, however, vote on guidelines for the myriad programs that will be financed by the contract because of what Mayor Sylvester Turner said were minor issues.
Brittany Hyman, a spokesperson for Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department, said the brief delay won’t affect the anticipated rollouts of the programs, for which information will be available on Houston’s recovery website or at various housing resource centers across the city.
The city has previously said it plans to spend more than $392 million of that money on a homeowner assistance program that would reimburse eligible applicants for some completed home repairs. Through that program, others could also opt to have contracted construction firms rebuild, repair or redesign their homes, or swap “substantially damaged” homes for new ones built to withstand future flooding.
Another $321 million is earmarked for a multi-family rental program, and city Housing officials have said they hope to leverage some of that money to finance the construction of between 1,500 and 3,000 affordable rental units in the next six years.
More than $200 million more would go toward constructing single-family homes for low- and moderate-income Houstonians, according to the most recent draft proposals.