The City of Houston’s latest pipeline report shows that as of the start of this year, Housing and Community Development’s Harvey Recovery Program had sent reimbursement checks to 150 homeowners out of 96,410 homes flooded during Harvey (see page 15). Quite the long shot! More than 1 in 600!
Program Ended More than Year Ago; Some Claims Still Being Processed
The City’s Reimbursement Program ended on December 31, 2020. At that time, the City had only reimbursed 119 families for repairs they made themselves. Claims still in the pipeline at that time explain the difference between 119 and 150.
One lucky Lake-Houston-Area homeowner recently emailed me saying his family had just cashed a reimbursement check – 4.5 years after Harvey. They won their THIRD appeal!
Reimbursements Not Only Form of Assistance
To be fair, The City offers more forms of assistance than reimbursements. The City also has rehab and reconstruction programs; homebuyer programs; a multi-family program targeted at developers and more (see below). Also keep in mind that this department underwent a major reorganization last year and now has new leadership.
However, the City still has a long way to go with financial transparency. Why, for instance, are subtotals not reported in the first screen capture above for recons, rehabs and reimbursements?
Flood Insurance Your Best Bet Next Time
The long-shot odds, lengthy application processing, bureaucratic delays and uncertain outcomes all underscore the need for flood insurance. Get a flood insurance contract in place before the next big storm and store it in a safe deposit box on HIGH GROUND. Don’t wait for help that will likely never come after the storm. Remember, ordinary homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/15/2022
1631 Days after Hurricane Harvey