Bill Rapp here with Heartfelt & Hot in Houston Blog, here is our newest segment: Houston could start issuing checks for Harvey-related home repairs later this month!

Nearly 19 months after Hurricane Harvey damaged thousands of homes across Houston, the city announced it will soon start issuing reimbursement checks to homeowners for Harvey-related repairs.

The city shared its plans on March 13 after the Texas General Land Office approved a request to let homeowners verify repair costs rather than require them to submit receipts and paperwork to the city.

In January, Houston City Council approved an ordinance that outlined how nearly $1.18 billion would be spent for Hurricane Harvey recovery. The Texas General Land Office will distribute the funds.

Once City Council determines what contract forms will be needed for the homeowner assistance program, the city could start verifying repair costs and issuing checks to eligible applicants by the end of the month. City Council will vote today.

The reimbursement program will cover eligible expenses completed prior to when a homeowner submits an application. Repairs must pass an environmental clearance and on-site inspection, guidelines state. Homeowners can’t receive more than $80,000 for reimbursement.  

Along with reimbursement, the homeowner assistance program could:

* Provide mortgage assistance for people paying both a monthly mortgage on a damaged home and rent for a temporary place.

* Acquire severely damaged homes and maybe offer additional funds to buy a new home.

* Offer rehab and reconstruction help where the city will use a pool of contractors and manage the construction process.

Applicants can visit the city’s recovery website for more information. Meanwhile, the Texas Senate approved a budget amendment March 13 that will provide nearly $3 billion to state agencies affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The University of Houston System is set to receive over $26 million from the rainy day fund — with $20 million going to the main campus, $4 million going to the downtown campus, $1.7 going million to the Victoria campus and $83,668 going to the Clear Lake campus. Lone Star College received $13.1 million.

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