GALVESTON -- More than a year after Hurricane Ike, Galveston County’s effort to get federal aid to residents whose homes were damaged by the storm is under way.
While a month behind the initial launch, the Galveston County Housing Assistance Program had its first face-to-face meetings with residents who applied for help in rebuilding or repairing their houses.
The county has about $99 million to make repairs or rebuild storm-wrecked homes. About $15 million of the money from the Housing and Urban Development Community Block Grant program will cover administrative costs of the program, county officials said.
The county program is to provide assistance to residents in all but the city of Galveston, which has its own housing assistance program.
Galveston started accepting applications for housing assistance Thursday.
To qualify for help, homeowners must reside in Galveston and own a home damaged by Hurricane Ike. The first phase of the city’s housing assistance program targets people with low-to-moderate incomes.
James Wilson, recovery coordinator for the county, said more than 200 people had applied for the assistance through the Recovery for Ike Survivors Enterprise, a case management organization created by the state and managed by Lutheran Social Services.
Catholic Charities also is helping coordinate the application process, Wilson said. For now, the county is taking applications only through those two organizations and won’t take applications directly until four outreach centers open, Wilson said.
By next week, Wilson hopes to have outreach centers open in Bacliff, Crystal Beach, Texas City and the county courthouse. Residents will be able to apply directly for assistance at those centers. The county estimates about 1,800 residents will qualify for assistance.
Wilson had wanted to open the outreach centers three weeks ago, but logistical hurdles forced the county to lease temporary buildings that are being installed in Crystal Beach and Bacliff.
The county launched a Web site that outlines the requirements of the program and a link to the four-page pre-application form that must be submitted before residents will be considered.
To qualify for the housing assistance, residents must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident; have owned or occupied the damage home as their primary residence on Sept. 13, 2008, when Hurricane Ike made landfall; and have no past-due property taxes owed on the house.
Also, household income must be less than 80 percent of the area median income for the county. That means a household of four cannot have an annual income of more than $51,050 to qualify for assistance, while a two-person household can’t make more than $40,850 annually, according to the housing program’s requirement documents.
Texas RISE: 888-453-7473
Catholic Charities: 281-578-8594 or 409-643-8260
Online application: www.co.galveston.tx.us/HousingDept/index.htm
Household Income Requirements
No. in household — Annual income
1 — $35,750
2 — $40,850
3 — $45,950
4 — $51,050
5 — $55,150
6 — $59,200
7 — $63,300
8 — $67,400
• Current government-issued picture identification
• Receipts, canceled checks, credit card statements to verify purchases of repairs completed on homes
• Proof of damage document from an entity such as FEMA or Small Business Administration
• Evidence of money received from FEMA, SBA or insurance
• Property tax receipt
• Current utility bill
• Any document referencing an identification number for manufactured home units
• Marriage or divorce decree. If married, but separated, contact information for spouse
• Current mortgage payment coupon or information for lien holder
• Mortgage cancellation document
• Death certificate of property owners name is still on title
• Current pay stub
• 2008 IRS tax return
• Names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of all residents
SOURCE: Galveston County Housing Assistance Program
Galvestonians can pick up applications for housing assistance at the Housing Assistance Center in Room 100 at City Hall, 823 25th St., or they can download the application at www.galvestoncityrecovers.org. Homeowners also can call 409-797-3773.