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Large disaster recovery response meeting was held today with help coming to those affected by the recent floods

Clean up is underway and many residents have either begun rebuilding, or have already moved back into their homes, however others are still in shelters with no place to go following the devastating floods from three weeks ago. Leadership from all local communities have gathered together today to approve a plan to provide for those still in need of housing.

Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said regarding disaster recovery for our area, "We held a large disaster recovery response meeting today at Jasper County's Emergency Operation Center for Jasper, Newton, Tyler and Hardin Counties. We met with representatives of the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Jasper-Newton Counties Long Term Recovery Group, Texas Department of Emergency Management, Nehemiah's Vision, Congressman Babin's Office, Senator Nichols' Office, the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, Southern Baptist Men's Relief, Gateway Tabernacle, Kirbyville's First Assembly of God Church, and Kirbyville's Rural Homeless Network to discuss assistance for families still being sheltered as well as working to assist in damage to homes and property of those affected by the recent flooding".

Allen added, "We also had representatives of the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission. The group also discussed the housing voucher program provided by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments for all of the affected counties, as well as assistance received by Catholic Charities".

According to Allen, the housing assistance voucher program will offset costs of rent in temporary or more permanent housing, and upon individuals or families being deemed eligible for assistance, victims of this flood event will take priority and be placed above others that are currently on DETCOG's waiting list due to the Declaration of Disaster being issued for these counties. The intake and interview sessions being held in Jasper, Newton, Tyler and Hardin Counties will help determine eligibility for applicants and also assist with coordinating with local renters who may have homes or apartments available for lease within DETCOG's 13 county housing region. Anybody who owns rental property with vacancies is encouraged to reach out to the American Red Cross or DETCOG with information for eligible applicants.

"Also," Allen added, "while we were holding this meeting, my staff was in the affected flood area doing damage assessments with representatives of the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the federal Small Business Administration to assist in establishing criteria for eligibility for grants or low interest loans for our people to rebuild their lives".

When asked how soon people can expect to be housed, Allen said, "I believe they are already trying to process people for housing assistance, but these intake sessions in our counties will help identify those who have not already applied or have not made a decision yet to seek help".

Allen said that he believes there were 16 total people sheltered as of yesterday, but some have found temporary housing with family members. Families will be eligible for assistance even if the decided not to leave their property.


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