Houston leaders slam HUD’s approval of GLO flood aid distribution

Mayor Sylvester Turner criticized the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s approval of an amendment to the Texas General Land Office’s state action plan as sanctioning “discrimination”.

Turner expressed disappointment with Friday’s decision to accept GLO’s plan to send $750 million to Harris County for flood mitigation, just 10 months after the city and county were banned to receive the $4.3 billion in flood relief after Hurricane Harvey.

“Just a few weeks ago, HUD found that the GLO discriminated against black and brown communities when it initially denied federal funds for Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Houston County. Harris,” Turner said, citing a March 4 HUD report that found discrimination in GLO’s Hurricane Harvey. State mitigation contest to distribute flood relief.

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In a joint press release, U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green and Sylvia Garcia on Saturday called for Justice Department intervention, citing discrimination against Houston residents if aid is spent in the framework of the current distribution system.

In its report released earlier this month, HUD found that two criteria used by the GLO to score projects submitted for funding by cities and counties had disproportionate impacts on black and Hispanic communities.

The GLO used a measure that made large jurisdictions less likely to receive funding and gave higher scores based on the percentage of residents in a jurisdiction who would benefit from a project rather than the number of people who would benefit.

“It should also be noted that minorities tend to live in large urban areas,” the statement said. “Therefore, by discriminating against a wider urban area, GLO discriminates against minority residents.”

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The issue isn’t with the other regions that received the funding, but rather the fact that Houston didn’t receive anything, Jackson Lee said Friday night.

“I support all the dollars that were given to our local jurisdictions. I have no complaints with that. What I have to say is Houston got zero,” Jackson Lee said. “This is a blatant, egregious and egregious act of wrongdoing by the General Land Office. Housing and Urban Development, through their ruling today, has indicated that there are issues with the how the GLO handled this.”

In the end, Harris County’s $750 million — which can be allocated to meet the city’s needs — is only a fraction of the aid needed considering the county is bearing 50% of the damage. and that the city has had seven federally declared disasters since 2015, Turner said.

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