The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has allocated nearly $726,000 to assist homeowners who suffered damages from wildfires this year. If it is approved, homeowners that were displaced by wildfires could receive money to demolish and reconstruct their homes while also getting tenant-based rental assistance for as many as three years.
The money is dedicated to assist owners of as many as 43 East Texas homes, which includes 28 homes in three-county Longview Metropolitan Statistical Area , according to the East Texas Council of Governments. Executive Committee Members of the Council of Governments passed resolutions on November 3 to apply for the state grants. The grants are available through Federal investment as well as neighborhood stabilization funds.
If approved, the program will subsidize individual rent for up to two years with an additional twelve months extension also available. In addition to that, security deposits would also be covered along with up to 8% in administrative costs. ETCOG Housing Manager Savannah Pacobit and her staff have already identified homes in seven East Texas counties that could be eligible for assistance. The counties were declared major disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Administration on September 9.
Pacobit is also seeking assistance for 35 homes in Marion County, 18 homes in Upshur County, 9 homes in Gregg County, 5 homes in Anderson, 2 homes in Harrison County, 2 homes in Smith County and 1 home in Rusk County. Every East Texas county experienced damage from the wildfires during the first nine months of the year and, according to the Governor’s website, Gregg and Cass counties have seen between 2.1% and 7% of their respective total acreage burned.
Cass County is not a member of the East Texas Council of Governments, instead being a part of the Ark-Tex Council of Governments. Over 7,000 structures were lost to the wildfires and nearly 4 million acres have burned due to 22,500+ wildfires statewide. On the bright side, local and state firefighters are credited with saving nearly 35,000 homes from fire.
Source: news-journal.com – ETCOG seeks reconstruction, rent aid for East Texas wildfire victims