August 24, 2018 
Houston After Harvey   
 
Dear Neighbor,

Almost one year ago, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast and wreaked havoc on Houston and the lives of millions of Texans.

While Houston was experiencing devastating floods, we also saw the best of our Texan spirit as our communities came together to help one another. I am grateful to all our first responders, to the people of Louisiana, and all those across the country that risked their lives to help our communities.

In the year since Harvey hit, my top priority in Washington has been getting federal assistance to my neighbors impacted by the storm.



As the only appropriator from Southeast Texas, I was proud to spearhead the record $141 billion in flood relief in the House, including nearly $5 billion for flood prevention for Texas. This is enough money to fund all federally authorized flood control projects in Harris County, as well as the study required to determine the best long-term solutions to protect the areas upstream and downstream of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. It also ensures that the Army Corps of Engineers prioritizes the construction of projects in Southeast Texas. This means that I secured enough money to completely finish Brays Bayou, White Oak Bayou, Hunting Bayou, and Clear Creek at full federal expense. There’s also enough money to speed up the federally authorized projects in Harris County and determine future projects to enhance our regional flood control network, including enhancing the capacity of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs.

I’ve also been working to help families receive rental assistance after Harvey. Under current law, FEMA is required to provide disaster relief to families affected by natural disasters. However, FEMA has been imposing a 30 percent rule that deems many homeowners who need help as “too wealthy” to qualify for housing assistance. FEMA says that if your post-disaster housing costs are equal to or less than 30 percent of your gross household income, you are ineligible for financial assistance for a temporary place to rent while your home is being repaired. Recently, the Homeland Security Committee on Appropriations unanimously adopted my amendment to repeal this FEMA rule. My amendment has not yet been signed into law, but I will continue to do everything I can to see that this policy is changed.

Additionally, Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) and I recently sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long urging him to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) deadline by an additional six months to submit proof of loss for claims resulting from Hurricane Harvey. The NFIP program cannot leave any policyholders impacted by Hurricane Harvey behind. An extension to allow more time for Texans to finalize their claims is critical, and I will continue pushing for this change.

Your safety and security is my highest priority. I am working every day to ensure that Houston will become more resilient to future storms and better than before Harvey.

As we all continue to get back to our normal routines, please know how very grateful I am for the honor and privilege to represent you in the United States House.


Sincerely,

John Culberson

  
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