Galveston Struggling to Rebuild Housing 10 Years After Hurricane Ike

October 24, 2018

Galveston hasn’t done enough to rebuild public housing that was destroyed by Hurricane Ike a decade ago, public housing advocates say.

Fewer than half of the island city’s 569 public housing units have been rebuilt since the 2008 hurricane, The Houston Chronicle reported. State and federal rules require the city rebuild every unit.

Political inaction and a lack of financial capital are blamed for the delays.

“I cannot think of another instance nationally in disaster recovery where it has taken this long to take money that has been appropriated for 10 years, and to actually use it to build homes and stimulate the local economy and generate jobs,” said John Henneberger, co-director of the Texas Low-Income Housing Information Service, a statewide housing advocacy group.

Galveston currently has two mixed-income developments with 145 units. Another two projects with a total of 137 units are under development.

The Galveston Housing Authority has until 2019 to build the remaining 287 units before $66 million in federal disaster grant money expires. The authority sent a project proposal to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in May.

The housing authority is considering unorthodox approaches to the issue, such as building 50 units in Texas City or purchasing an existing apartment complex as a replacement strategy. Mona Purgason, the executive director of the Galveston Housing Authority, says building the units on the island is preferred, but that the agency is waiting for guidance from HUD.

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