Hurricane Harvey Recovery Funds May Prioritize Wealthy, Advocates Say
Advocacy groups say Texas is poised to unfairly distribute $5-plus billion in federal funding provided for housing repairs following Hurricane Harvey — prioritizing wealthy homeowners over poorer victims in ways that could constitute racial discrimination.
A draft state rebuilding plan says homeowners may only be eligible for federal assistance, regardless of income, if they suffered $8,000 in damages. The renters' threshold is $2,000.
A coalition led by Austin-based Texas Housers says that excludes low- and middle-income households from more than $1 billion in housing repair aid.
At a news conference Friday, the groups said Harvey victims in 20 largely black and Hispanic areas in Houston and elsewhere are most likely to be excluded — raising civil rights concerns.
Texas says the federal government sets relief thresholds that can't be changed.