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SAVE JOBS AND EMPOWER PEOPLE! EXTEND HURRICANE IKE SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT

Messages Sent So Far
September 20, 2010

Dear President Obama and Member of Congress:

Background
In late 2008 Congress appropriated funds to assist with recovery from natural disasters occurring in 2008, including Hurricane Ike. Congress included $600 million for Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) disaster recovery funds and in early 2009 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services allocated about $219 million to Texas. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission in turn allocated $93 million to the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) for distribution to health and social service agencies in the region. SSBG funds can be used to reimburse health and social service agencies for damage due to Hurricane Ike, or can fund ongoing services such as mental health counseling, minor home repair and other social services to Hurricane Ike victims. This funding also provided Social Service Block grants funds to citizens in 20 other states including Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Florida and Missouri.


Current Situation
H-GAC has funded over 40 different agencies to provide services in the region including many in Galveston, Harris & Brazoria Counties while SETRP received $14 Million for programs in Southeast Texas and LRGVDC received $9.9 Million for recovery programs in the Rio Grande Valley. These agencies anticipate serving 40,000 individuals and families. Unfortunately, it takes months for funds to get from the federal level to local programs. In addition, it takes time for local programs to gear up to serve Ike victims. As it stands, the State?s
authorization to expend these funds expires on September 30, 2010. This deadline is statutory. H-GAC anticipates having significant unexpended funds available by the current deadline. However, recovery from a disaster like Hurricane Ike can take years, as shown by Hurricane Katrina and by the region?s own experience with Ike. H-GAC alone anticipates having $40 to $45 Million in unexpended funds available by the current deadline. Therefore, participating social service organizations and citizens of the affected recommend that we request Congressional and Presidential support for obtaining an extension of the period during which SSBG disaster recovery funds may be obligated. A similar extension was granted for Hurricane Katrina SSBG disaster recovery funds. This extension will not add to the federal deficit.

Action Requested
By my signature hereto, I urgently join the participating social service organizations to request Congressional and Presidential support for Senate Bill 3774 granting an extension of the period for expending Social Services Block Grant disaster recovery funds to serve Hurricane Ike victims before authorization to use the funds expires on September 30, 2010.

Post Public Comments

Public Comments (1,037)
Nov 1st, 2016
John B. from Las Vegas, NV signed.
Feb 22nd, 2013
Someone from Galveston, TX writes:
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Please extend or restore services for mental health victims. People who suffered extreme loss have nowhere to turn.
Jan 25th, 2012
Someone from Houston, TX writes:
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I was refused assistance buy all the agencies that recieved federal money for assistance with housing repairs because "Excessive Damage" I am disabled and very low income. Where did all the funds go when less then a dozen houses were repaired the during the first round ?
Jan 4th, 2011
Someone from Port Bolivar, TX signed.
Nov 11th, 2010
Someone from Houston, TX writes:
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PLEASE EXTEND BLOCK GRANT - I'VE WAITED 2 YEARS AND NCI AND UNITED WAY SAID UNLESS EXTENDED, THEY CANNOT HELP ME.
Nov 4th, 2010
Someone from Galveston, TX signed.
Oct 20th, 2010
Someone from Houston, TX signed.
Oct 15th, 2010
Someone from Houston, TX writes:
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There is still much need for Hurricane Ike recovery in Galveston County.
Oct 2nd, 2010
Someone from Splendora, TX signed.
Sep 30th, 2010
Someone from Pearland, TX signed.