OPENING PARAGRAPHS: Dear Ms. Wajahat, The Houston Organizing Movement for Equity (HOME) Coalition commends the City and Mayor Turner’s recognition that rebuilding a stronger, more resilient Houston cannot happen unless it is also a more equitable Houston. We appreciate the robust and collaborative community engagement, through town halls drawing over 600 Houstonians, to inform the City’s Local Action Plan in advance of the official public comment period. We also applaud Mayor Turner’s commitment to making historic progress towards ensuring that “every Houstonian has a safe, affordable place to live” and the City’s stated intention to prioritize low- and moderate-income Houstonians in the recovery. The draft CDBG-DR Local Action Plan is a good step forward, which the HOME Coalition believes can be strengthened by incorporating the following recommendations to the plan itself and program design. We appreciate the City’s ongoing commitment to listen to community voices as the recovery moves forward and stand ready to assist you in that work. We offer the following recommendations for strengthening the City of Houston’s draft Local Action Plan ...
OPENING PARAGRAPH: Dear Mr. Turkel: We appreciate the opportunity to provide the following comments on Harris County’s Disaster Recovery Voluntary Buyout Program Guidelines for 2015, 2017, and 2017 Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. We commend the County for proposing a buyout program that ensures that families have the opportunity to move to safer areas, including incentives and other necessary funding for LMI families that would otherwise be trapped in flood prone areas. These guidelines outline a program that is more equitable, that will increase both community and individual resilience, and is much more likely to accomplish the goal of moving families out of harm’s way and reducing flood vulnerability than previous buyout programs for other disasters.
OPENING PARAGRAPH: Dear Judge Emmett, We, the HOME (Houston Organizing Movement for Equity) Coalition, are pleased to have the opportunity to provide input into Harris County's Action Plan for the first allocation of CDBG-DR Hurricane Harvey funding. Like you, we are committed to an equitable recovery that accounts for the long history of racist policies and practices that have left, in particular, low-income Black and Brown neighborhoods underserved. The attached comments reflect the HOME Coalition’s commitment to equity and are consistent with issues and concerns brought up in conversations and community meetings with city officials over the eight months since Hurricane Harvey. Our coalition members bring a wealth of experience working on fair housing for renters and homeowners, sustainable jobs, environmental justice, and disaster recovery. Many of us worked with city, state and federal agencies in the wake of Hurricane Ike and other past disasters. But more importantly, we are community-based organizations that have been out knocking on doors, repairing homes, and organizing town hall meetings with families affected by Harvey.
OPENING PARAGRAPHS: Texas Appleseed appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Draft Housing Guidelines for Hurricane Harvey CDBG-DR programs. We are submitting an initial set of comments highlighting the most critical issues we have identified, and will submit supplemental comprehensive comments. The publication of draft housing guidelines that create standardized housing programs across the disaster-affected region reflects best practices and lessons learned from the State’s previous experience with Hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Dolly, and ensures that Texans will not be treated differently in disaster recovery programs based solely on where they live. We also appreciate the continued emphasis on the State’s committment and its Subrecipients’ obligations to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) and ensure that disaster recovery does not leave some families and communities out, or lock them into flood hazard areas. We would strongly encourage GLO to clarify the definition of AFFH and to provide training and technical assistance to Subrecipients. This was a frequent request from Subrecipients in the wake of Hurricane Ike.


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