A State House committee was in Corpus Christi evaluating the response so far to Hurricane Harvey -- specifically, whether the Texas General Land Office has done all it can to help the hardest hit communities, and why FEMA is underperforming.
Many mayors and other local officials who testified before the committee Wednesday were happy with the job that the State has done during the recovery effort, but FEMA was not spoken of highly by many people.
As a matter of fact, FEMA was invited to the meeting but no officials showed up.
FEMA has been working with the General Land Office to try and get people back into their homes, or into a temporary home at least. The committee heard that FEMA is not sharing a lot of information and has continued to deny people benefits when their homes were either completely destroyed or heavily damaged by Harvey.
"I realize that I'm spending a lot of time beating up on FEMA and I'm okay with that, because I'm really hoping what you will leave this hearing today with is that we have big, big problems and somebody at your level has to put pressure on FEMA to get things done now," Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney said.
"They have provided some of our residents with rental assistance but overall, in addressing the long-term housing needs of my community, they have been a colossal failure," Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan said.
Committee members will take all of the information they received during the meeting back to Austin. The plan is to re-examine the State's readiness to handle natural disasters in the future and learn from the mistakes made during Harvey.
State Rep. Abel Herrero said this is a longterm issue and state lawmakers' hands are tied, but he did urge Land Commissioner George P. Bush to look at everything he can do to help people get the help they need sooner than later.
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