Editorial

After Hurricane Harvey, we have seen so many acronyms: EOC, GLO, FEMA, HAP, SBA loan, VCLTRG ... and the list goes on and on and on.

But don’t tune out just yet because you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table by not applying for the state’s Homeowner Assistance Program.

The Texas General Land Office rolled out a program a few weeks ago that would repair and reconstruct owner-occupied single-family homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

The program covers rehabilitation, reconstruction, new construction, hazard mitigation, elevation and relocation assistance. The state administers the program with the assistance of state-approved builders and contractors.

The state-administered housing program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Central/Golden Crescent region has been allocated $116 million. More than 80 percent of these funds or $93.5 million must be spent in Victoria and Fayette counties.

Despite a sizable amount of money waiting to be spent, our region has submitted the lowest number of applications. Only 74 applicants are in the application review phase, while 10 applicants are in the home eligibility review stage.

While most of these funds are allocated for moderate to low income homeowners, every homeowner with Harvey damage must apply.

General Land Commissioner George P. Bush actually came down to Victoria on Jan. 22 to see the first complete rebuild through HAP, which is already almost finished on Victoria’s south side.

That day was emotional as Victor Torres, 82, got a tour of his brand-new two-bedroom, two-bathroom house on the property that had been in his family for more than 70 years. His daughter, Rosalinda Faidley, said the process for them did not take long and she urges everyone to apply.

Those who have already started work with a Small Business Administration or SBA loan are encouraged to apply. Officials say one of the major hurdles for potential applicants is submitting property deed paperwork, but there is real, in-person help available.

“Even if folks think they might have factors that make them ineligible, we want them to contact us to make sure,” said GLO spokeswoman Brittany Eck.

The Victoria County Long-Term Recovery Group is urging residents to check out the housing recovery program and your current case manager should be able to walk you through the process. If you don’t have a case manager, then just simply go to the local office and ask for help.

Grant Works, the company hired to run the program locally, has a convenient office in Victoria ready to help six days a week on 2208 Leary Lane. Those interested can also look at all of the requirements on recovery.texas.gov.

We have written many stories about how the GLO program formed over the past 17 months and how real people like Victor Torres are benefitting from the program, but the message doesn’t seem to have gotten out.

The community has to come together and spread this message. Tell your neighbors, tell your coworkers, tell anyone you know who experienced Hurricane Harvey damage. Don’t let anyone miss out on this program.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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