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Texas GLO’s Mitigation Plan Amendment fails to rectify discrimination in mitigation funding. Here are our official comments.

Texas Housers, alongside several community organizations, has continued to pressure the Texas General Land Office to ensure that CDBG Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds are distributed in an equitable manner. Their initial CDBG-MIT Action Plan resulted in no funds being awarded to many of the places that suffered the most from Hurricane Harvey and that contain most of the eligible area’s Black and Hispanic residents. The new Action Plan Amendment continues this pattern, failing to meaningfully address the obvious and historic need in these communities and failing to remedy the pattern of discriminatory distribution of funds by the GLO.

From our comments:

We object to the adoption of the Amendment because it simply does not allocate funds in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. The proposed amendment will reduce GLO and its subrecipients' transparency and accountability for compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws. The GLO clearly attempts through this amendment to remedy the disastrously inequitable distribution of funds during the Harvey Round 1 competition, which excluded the largest and most impacted jurisdictions from receiving even one dollar of funding and in the process, disproportionately denied the benefit of these federal funds to African-American and Hispanic persons. However, the Amendment fails to undo the harm that has been done by the Round 1 allocation. Furthermore, the amendment compounds the harm by opening the door for Councils of Government (COGs) to engage in similar unlawful civil rights violations. With this amendment, the GLO is attempting to outsource their civil rights obligations to COGs and counties. The distribution method is so dispersed, it will be nearly impossible for impacted communities or HUD to know if civil rights and fair housing violations have occurred.

While it’s true that the amendment directs $750 million to Harris County, several cities that were excluded from Round 1 funding are still not prioritized here, including Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Corpus Christi, and Nueces and Jefferson counties. Low-income people and people of color in these places suffered great harm during Hurricane Harvey and continue to be at the highest risk for future disasters. We outline in our comments how the GLO needs to move forward to ensure that these funds are disbursed in an equitable and sensible way in order to meet the needs of communities that have been the most impacted and are the most at risk.

The following community leaders and organizations have also signed on to this letter:

Doris Brown, Co-founder, Northeast Action Collective, Houston, TX
Reverend James Caldwell, Executive Director, Coalition of Community Organizations, Houston, TX
Cecilia Fontanot, President, Fair Housing & Neighborhood Rights, Houston, TX
John Beard, Jr., CEO, Port Arthur Community Action Network, Port Arthur, TX

You can read our comments to the Texas GLO regarding CDBG-MIT funds and their Amendment 1 proposal below:

21.09.27-TH-GLO-MIT-Amendment-Comments-Submission

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