Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Green Day for their $100,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.
Monday, December 18, 2017
Tyler Perry, Mattress Mack, Audrie Lawton, Dr Letitia Plummer, Judge Maria T Jackson -- 2017 Year End Review Edition
QUOTE OF THE YEAR: “There are no politics in eight feet of water…There are human beings in eight feet of water.” – SANDRA BULLOCK
As 2017 Comes to A Close, Let’s Not forget that the Struggle to Recover from Hurricane Harvey is Still Ongoing for Many Texas Families All Across the Lone Star State
HBC MAGAZINE© REPORTS
Houston Business Connections Magazine© is proud to announce a few of the local leaders, government entities, and national celebrities who will be featured inside our “2017 Year-End Review Edition” of our special “KEEPSAKE” commemorative issue. You can expect to see information published inside this issue about: FEMA, Governor Greg Abbott, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, O’CONNOR, Jim McIngvale, Jim Crane, J.J. Watt, Beyoncé, Deshaun Watson, James Harden, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Hart, Nicki Minaj, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Drake, Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, The Kardashian/Jenner women, DJ Khaled, Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, Green Day, Judge Loyd Wright, Judge John Schmude, Judge Christine Riddle Butts, Judge Maria T. Jackson, Council Member Mike Knox, Former Judge Renee Magee, State Rep. Shawn Thierry, Trustee-Elect Dr. Pretta VanDible Stallworth, Dr. Letitia Plummer, Attorney Audrie Lawton, Pioneer Bank’s Gloria Sanderson, Art & Koffey Smith, other distinguished leaders – including a few 2018 Democratic and Republican candidates running for office in the Tuesday, March 6, 2018 Primaries in the Lone Star State. Houston Business Connections Magazine© is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. Call (832)212-8735, or (281)788-3033 for more information. All rights reserved.
TEXAS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME
Make no mistake about it -- Texas will never be the same following the havoc wreaked on families across the Lone Star State in 2017. “Praise God, the death toll wasn’t higher. But I think it’s going to take a long time for Texas to fully recover from Harvey related issues. And I’m not sure if the rest of the world will ever truly grasp how devastating Harvey’s relentless downpour actually was on Texas families – especially those living in the Houston-area,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine©.
HOW BAD WAS HURRICANE HARVEY?
According to FEMA: there were 360,920 Individual Assistance Applications Approved; The total Individual & Households Program Dollars Approved: $1,485,298,678.46 dollars; and the total number of Public Assistance Grants Dollars Obligated was $502,344,847.39 dollars.
A FEW PEOPLE WHO CARED ABOUT US
What Texans star J.J. Watt did in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey was nothing short of amazing. However, there were many other celebrities who also opened up their hearts and pocketbooks to assist Houstonians in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We don’t have enough space to mention everyone who chipped in, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize a few of the folks who made life a little easier for Texans during, and after the storm.
JJ WATT CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
JJ WATT IS A SPECIAL HUMAN BEING
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank JJ Watt for hearing the cry of the people. What initially began as a goal to raise $200,000 to help victims of Hurricane Harvey quickly ballooned to more than $37 million in much-needed assistance. “JJ Watt get’s it,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections©. “JJ could have sat back and asked people to send up prayers – now don’t get me wrong, prayer is a good thing, and we need all the prayers we can get during these difficult times. I’m sure that JJ prayed, but it was JJ’s actions that implored others to generously give,” says Taylor.
TEAM JJ WATT IN ACTION
WAY TO GO JJ WATT
“It’s heart-warming to see people who are blessed and understand that God has blessed them to be a blessing to others,” Taylor explains. “Seeing JJ in action reminded me of a passage of scripture in Luke 12:48 which states: “…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him, they will ask the more.”
GOV. GREG ABBOTT CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
GOVERNOR ABBOTT DELIVERED OVER $136 MILLION IN DISASTER RELIEF MONEY TO HOUSTON, HARRIS COUNTY
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take the moment to thank Governor Greg Abbott for delivering more than $136 million in disaster aid to help Houston and Harris County cover the cost of Hurricane Harvey efforts. In case you don’t already know, Gov. Abbott presented Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner with a check in the amount of $91.2 million. And the honorable Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was presented with a check in the amount of $44.5 million by Gov. Abbott. Way to go Mr. Governor!
THE BEYGOOD TEAM CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank Beyoncé and her BeyGOOD TEAM for their ongoing efforts to assist Houstonians in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Beyonce is encouraging everyone concerned about Hurricane Harvey victims to continue to support: www.breadoflifeinc.org today!
JAMES HARDEN CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank James Harden for giving $1 million to help Houstonians in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
DESHAUN WATSON CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Deshaun Watson for giving his first game check to cafeteria workers at NRG Stadium who were hit hard by the floodwaters left by Hurricane Harvey.
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank “Mattress Mack” for opening the doors of Gallery Furniture to victims of Hurricane Harvey. And for everything else he did in the aftermath of this catastrophic weather event.
CONGRESSWOMAN LEE CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for coming back to the 18th Congressional District of Texas and making sure that her constituents were getting the resources they needed to begin rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
SANDRA BULLOCK CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Sandra Bullock for giving $1 million to the Red Cross to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in the Lone Star State.
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Leonardo DiCaprio for giving $1 million to charities working to help Texas recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
KEVIN HART HAS A HEART FOR HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Kevin Hart for rallying his friends and other celebrities to answer the cry for assistance by victims of Hurricane Harvey.
STATE REP. THIERRY CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to take this moment to thank State Representative Shawn Thierry (HD-146) for fighting to make sure that her constituents were getting housing, healthcare, and clothing to get their lives back on track in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In case you don’t know, State Rep. Shawn Thierry took an unfurnished retail space and transformed it into: “Thierry’s Threads & More Store”. This store was exclusively stocked with items for families impacted by the Hurricane Harvey flooding. Each family who attended the store received $1,000 bonus bucks to spend on items of their choice.
NICKI MINAJ CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Nicki Minaj for her $25,000 contribution to assist local efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in response to Kevin Hart’s Hurricane Harvey Relief challenge.
THE ROCK CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for his $50,000 contribution in response to Kevin Hart’s Hurricane Harvey Relief challenge.
DRAKE CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Drake for his $200,000 donation in response to Kevin Hart’s Hurricane Harvey Relief challenge.
TYLER PERRY CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Tyler Perry for answering the call to service by donating $1 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts -- $250,000 of which went to Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.
MICHELLE & ELLEN BOTH CARE ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank former first lady Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres for all they did to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. DeGeneres gave $1 million to JJ Watt’s Relief Effort.
MILEY CYRUS CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Miley Cyrus for donating $500,000 of her personal funds to the Hurricane Harvey Relief effort.
THESE GIRLS HAVE A HEART FOR HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank The Kardashian/Jenner clan for their $500,000 combined contribution to assist Hurricane Harvey victims in the aftermath of the storm.
DJ KHALED CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank DJ Khaled for his prayers and $25,000 contribution to help the people of Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
ALEX AND JENNIFER BOTH CARE ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez for their combined gift of $50,000 to the Red Cross for to assist in the recovery process after seeing the destruction left by Hurricane Harvey.
GREEN DAY CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Green Day for their $100,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.
PIONEER BANK CARES ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank Gloria Sanderson, the SVP,CRA/Fair Lending Officer at Pioneer Bank for helping Arthur and Koffey Smith of “SUPER BOLD CITY” with a $15,000 dollar grant. The grant was made possible by way of their “Small Business Recovery Grant Program” done in partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas to help small businesses get back on their feet after Hurricane Harvey. Sanderson can be reached at, (281)632-1516, or by cell at, (281)222-7458 for more information.
THERE ARE STILL MORE FAMILIES STRUGGLING THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF TEXAS
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to ask you to continue to pray and give to efforts aimed at helping families that are still struggling to recover in the following Texas counties: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Caldwell, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.
THE HARVEY FEDERAL TAX REFUND PROGRAM CREATED BY O'CONNOR IS HERE TO HELP HARVEY VICTIMS TO GET THEIR MONEY BACK
Houston Business Connections Magazine© would like to thank the entire O'CONNOR LEADERSHIP TEAM for their tireless work and commitment to helping those affected by this natural disaster. In case you haven’t already heard, O'CONNOR has created a special “HARVEY FEDERAL TAX REFUND PROGRAM” for individuals who paid income taxes back in 2016. If you did so, you may qualify for a “FEDERAL TAX REFUND” – and it could go back to 2013. “I really like the fact that there are no upfront out-of-pocket costs to applicants who want to see if they qualify to “GET THEIR MONEY BACK” from the government,” says Taylor.
NO SAVINGS, NO FEE. GUARANTEED!
“According to the great folks at O'CONNOR, they only get paid when you get paid. And above that, their fee is a “FLAT FEE” and will not exceed 10% of your resulting tax reduction – and that’s great news for Texans in desperate need of help during these difficult times,” explains Taylor.
SOUND’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? – THINK AGAIN!!!
Look, the fine people at O'CONNOR are knowledgeable, Property Tax Experts, and they know what they’re doing. This isn’t some fly-by-night firm – they’ve been delivering results for Texans for a long time. “After all, the IRS tax code § 165 includes regulations that allow you to deduct casualty losses, such as damage to your home due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. So, according to O'CONNOR, you can claim the loss you’ve experienced on your tax return – so don’t sleep on this program,” implores Taylor.
DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT
During times like these, it’s difficult to know who you can trust. So check out a few of these testimonials from satisfied O'CONNOR clients:
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
“I don’t know how you did it, but I am impressed. I signed up with you for the first time this year. I protested my own tax appraisal last year and although not satisfied, managed to get HCAD to reduce my appraisal by $26,600. This year, I thought whatever you could do would be gravy. Well, you got HCAD to reduce it by $40,400! I will gleefully pay your bill when I receive it. You are awesome! Thanks so much for your representation.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN WAXAHACHIE, TX
“The hearing results thrilled me! I must convey my deep gratitude to your firm on the superb job you have done representing us!! I tried to do this protest a few years ago with a friend who is a realtor. We didn’t have the clout. You do, and you use it for the good, for the relief of the overburdened taxpayer. I applaud your work and I will pass the word on to family and friends.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
“Finally, a program that protects homeowners! It was easy to enroll in The Property Tax Enrollment Program. The added benefits and my secure property portal with 24/7 are great. Overpaying property taxes is one less thing I need to worry about now!”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A HOMEOWNER IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
“I wanted to give you a word of thanks for the job you did. With little time to appeal my valuation myself, your service was outstanding, from the questions I had on the phone to the final results.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A STATEWIDE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM
“O’Connor & Associates is the leader when it comes to aggressive tax appeals in Texas. Last year, they were able to lower taxes on multiple properties with outstanding results. I strongly recommend the services of O’Connor & Associates, who consistently achieve superior results.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A NATIONAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM
“I have been an O’Connor client for years and they continue to amaze me. It’s simple… hire O’Connor or pay more than your competitors.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM MULTIPLE OFFICE PROPERTIES IN HOUSTON
“As a result of O’Connor & Associates’ aggressive litigation efforts and continuous support, our property taxes have been reduced. I give O’Connor & Associates an AAA+ rating and recommend them to anyone who enjoys dealing with bright and responsive consultants who can save you money.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNER IN HOUSTON
“O’Connor took all the uncertainty out of the litigation process and handled the entire appeal from start to finish.”
DON’T WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE TO CALL O’CONNOR
According to the good folks at O'CONNOR, depending on your situation and circumstances you may qualify for a tax refund right now – and the money can be used to begin your much-needed property repairs sooner – rather than later.
O’CONNOR will take two steps to do this:
STEP #1: Regardless of flood insurance coverage, O’CONNOR will work with you on your unique situation. So what are you waiting for? GET YOUR MONEY BACK NOW! Call 833-Aid-4-Harvey! Or visit www.Aid4Harvey.com for more information.
STEP #2: The knowledgeable team at O’CONNOR will then coordinate the property appraisal and amended tax return for a turn-key, painless process – SO DON’T WAIT for ANOTHER MINUTE!
Houston Office (Corporate Office)
2200 North Loop West, Suite 200
Houston, TX 77018
Dallas Office (By appointment only)
12300 Ford Rd., Suite #D365
Dallas, TX 75234
Austin Office (By appointment only)
Foxglove Executive Suites
11782 Jollyville Rd., Suite 103
Austin, TX 78759
San Antonio Office (By appointment only)
Galaxy Plaza II
8535 Wurzbach Rd., Ste. 203
San Antonio, TX 78240
MEET TEAM O’CONNOR
Patrick O’Connor has been active in reducing property taxes, providing expert witness testimony and appraising commercial real estate property since 1983. Pat is active in publishing analyses and data with respect to the real estate market while being a highly regarded media spokesperson for the real estate community. He holds an MAI, the highest achievable designation from the Appraisal Institute, and is a licensed senior property tax consultant. Pat earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. In 2001, he authored the first definitive consumer guide to Texas property taxes, Cut Your Texas Property Taxes.
On a conservative basis, Kathleen O’Connor manages the financial operations of the company. Working with outside accountants, Kathleen authorizes annual financial statements and projections. She monitors and reviews all expenditures, helps develop financial policies and procedures, and oversees payroll functions. Kathleen is a graduate of Baylor College, is a licensed Real Estate Broker and is very active in CREW. For more than twenty years, she has been an active participant in O’Connor, taking pride in its growth from a small firm to a company with a national reputation and more than 600 local and international employees.
Mike has more than 25 years of consulting and operational management experience in the information technology, retail, and real estate industries. Mike’s real estate background includes software consulting and federal tax reduction consulting. Previously, he served as national director of the Federal Tax Reduction department. In his role, Mike helped O’Connor analyze more than $15 billion in commercial and multifamily real estate while providing services and consultation in the areas of cost segregation, asset abandonment, bonus depreciation, qualified leasehold improvement, tenant improvement allocation, purchase price allocation, casualty loss, capital gains and 1031 exchange analysis. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.
Historic Disaster Response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – With nearly 4.5 feet of rain and 130 mph winds, Hurricane Harvey propelled a disaster response that was the largest in Texas state history.
Neighbors, strangers, nonprofit organizations, and governments at all levels joined together to mount an extraordinary effort to save lives and meet the needs of thousands of people who suffered from the storm and subsequent flooding. It was Texans helping Texans, aided by people who came to Texas from all parts of the nation.
Before the storm made landfall near Rockport on Aug. 25, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had pre-positioned supplies and personnel in the state, ready to join the Texas Division of Emergency Management, local agencies, nonprofit and faith-based organizations and the private sector in responding to the devastation caused by the storm.
President Trump issued a major disaster declaration immediately that allowed dozens of federal agencies to assign personnel to support the State of Texas in response and recovery. Within days, the number of FEMA employees, other federal agencies, and the National Guard deployed topped 31,000, all focused on helping Texans respond to Harvey.
More than 19 trillion gallons of rainwater fell on parts of Texas, causing widespread, catastrophic flooding. Nearly 80,000 homes had at least 18 inches of floodwater, 23,000 of those with more than 5 feet. The Houston area experienced the largest amount of rainwater ever recorded in the continental United States from a single storm (51.88 inches). Twenty-four hospitals were evacuated, 61 communities lost drinking water capability, 23 ports were closed and 781 roads were impassable. Nearly 780,000 Texans evacuated their homes. In the days after the storm, more than 42,000 Texans were housed temporarily in 692 shelters. Local, state and federal first responders rescued 122,331 people and 5,234 pets.
MOVING TO RECOVERY
The volume of applications for disaster assistance was one of the highest in FEMA history. To date, 792,000 households have applied for assistance. Most of those registrations were online at DisasterAssistance.gov or on mobile devices using the FEMA app. Because of the exceptional volume, FEMA’s national processing service center used surge staff from FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to assist with the traffic. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, assigned 2,300 staff to FEMA’s service center beginning Sept. 5.
Within 30 days, more than $1.5 billion in federal funds was paid to Texans impacted by the disaster, including assistance grants, low-interest disaster loans, and flood insurance advance payments.
During that period, 270,916 Texas households were provided $571.8 million from FEMA for temporary housing, basic repairs to make homes safe and habitable, and for other essential needs. More than 24,000 families are living temporarily in hotel rooms paid for by FEMA because their homes are uninhabitable. More than 2,100 remain in shelters until longer-term housing can be found.
Texans filed more than 87,000 flood insurance claims and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has made $608 million in expedited claims payments. NFIP implemented temporary changes to the claims process to help policyholders get started rebuilding as soon as possible.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the principal source of federal funds for rebuilding after a disaster, has approved $367 million in low-interest disaster loans to more than 4,340 Texas businesses, homeowners, and renters as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
HOW A FEW KEY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES RESPONDED TO HURRICANE HARVEY
The Coast Guard deployed 2,060 personnel, 50 aircraft, 75 boats and 29 cutters, rescuing 11,022 people and 1,384 pets.
FEMA assigned 28 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams from across the nation to deploy to Texas to assist state and local agencies with the lifesaving mission. The teams rescued 6,453 people and 237 animals, using boats and high-water trucks. Search and rescue efforts involved USAR, National Parks Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Defense.
FEMA supplied 3 million meals, 3 million liters of water, 9,900 blankets, 8,840 cots and 10,300 hygiene kits to the state for distribution to survivors. FEMA quickly provided $186 million in Public Assistance funding to reimburse local and state agencies for the cost of emergency protective measures and debris removal. FEMA deployed teams of specialists to neighborhoods and disaster recovery centers to help Texans with registration and questions about disaster assistance. FEMA coordinated National Business Emergency Operations Center calls among 150 private sector partners working on disaster response, worked with social media companies to share disaster information and assisted cell service companies in providing charging stations for disaster survivors.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed more than 1,110 personnel with medical equipment and supplies. Personnel provided medical care to 5,359 patients and conducted 60 shelter assessments. The department helped move Port Arthur residents who had been living in floodwater-contaminated houses and apartments to temporary housing at the Bob Bowers Civic Center.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists deployed to the coast to help the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast storm surge and beach erosion, then worked through Harvey’s landfall to keep the NWS informed of real-time flooding. After the floodwaters receded, USGS scientists collected more than 1,500 high-water marks to help develop future flood maps.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contacted all 61 public housing authorities in the disaster area to assess damage and to identify unoccupied units that could be made available to HUD-assisted and other survivors. Those authorities manage 91 public housing developments that serve 200,000 families. HUD did the same assessment with its 454 FHA-insured apartment complexes, comprising 50,000 units, of which 20,000 have direct HUD rental assistance. HUD also canvassed the four-state area surrounding the disaster for available public housing and multifamily housing units.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), deploying 390 personnel, worked with local and state agencies and the Coast Guard to clear navigation channels, allowing critical ports to resume operations. Engineers performed generator inspections and installations to provide temporary emergency power at critical locations and provided technical assistance for debris, temporary housing, and commodities missions.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, completed 625 drinking water assessments and 441 wastewater assessments. The agency conducted assessments of 43 Superfund sites and recovered 517 containers of unidentified, potentially hazardous material.
The Department of Energy (DOE) supported the Texas Division of Emergency Management and utility companies in efforts to restore power to more than 300,000 customers. Utility companies responded in a coordinated effort, activating their mutual support networks and assigning more than 10,000 workers from at least 21 states to the response and recovery effort, including crews, line workers, and support personnel. DOE worked with the EPA to issue waivers that allowed more fuel to go into the supply pipeline. Secretary Perry authorized the release of 5.3 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a resource if needed.
The Department of Defense (DoD) supported more than 30 mission assignments from FEMA that included search and rescue, strategic airlift, transportation, evacuation, installations support, patient movement and logistics. As part of the search and rescue mission, U.S. Northern Command rescued nearly 3,000 people.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), working with the Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Center, opened five business recovery centers to provide a wide range of services to businesses impacted by the disaster. SBA extended the deferment for the first payment from the standard five months to 11 months from the date the borrower signs the loan closing documents. SBA provided an automatic 12-month deferment of principal and interest payments for SBA-serviced business and disaster loans that were in regular servicing status on Aug. 25 in the counties designated as federal disaster areas.
The Civil Air Patrol conducted 270 flights with 32 aircraft to assist with emergency response.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) activated the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to provide food benefits to households that wouldn’t normally qualify if they meet disaster income limits and have disaster-related expenses. Schools in hurricane-stricken areas were allowed to provide meals through the National School Lunch Program to all students free of charge through Sept. 30. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service deployed 25 tons of pet food to affected areas and used helicopters to identify stranded livestock, assisting the Texas National Guard in dropping 210,000 pounds of hay to 10,000 head of livestock.
The General Services Administration (GSA) leased facilities to provide work sites for several thousand federal employees deployed to Texas, including a joint state/federal field office, area field offices, and call centers.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services temporarily modified the Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program to provide immediate relief to Texas disaster survivors.
The Department of Transportation provided technical assistance, training and on-site damage assessments for state and local partners to begin returning transportation infrastructure to pre-storm conditions. The Federal Highway Administration activated or deployed 36 employees in the response effort. Staff provided assistance for emergency repairs under the Emergency Relief Program with an initial $25 million in quick-release funds. All major airports returned to normal operations by Sept. 6. Ports in Corpus Christi, Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur were open with restrictions. Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County returned to limited service. As of Sept. 20, 191 damage inspection reports documented emergency repairs completed and permanent repairs to be completed.
The Texas Workforce Commission began taking unemployment insurance claims the day Hurricane Harvey made landfall. FEMA activated Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) for Texans whose employment was lost because of the disaster. The program is administered by the State of Texas. As of Sept. 19, the commission processed 136,576 unemployment insurance claims, of which 17,714 were under the DUA program. DUA call centers are operating seven days a week.
The American Red Cross provided $45 million to more than 100,000 disaster survivors to help them with immediate needs. The Red Cross deployed more than 3,000 staff and volunteers, 171 emergency response vehicles, served 965,000 meals and 1 million snacks and operated shelters throughout the impacted counties.
More than 300 voluntary organizations, including National and Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters and locally based groups, are working to support Harvey survivors. Volunteers are working to remove muck from homes, support shelters, feed people, distribute supplies, provide emotional and spiritual care, clean up debris, repair and rebuild housing and provide crisis support. The Salvation Army deployed 4,457 volunteers who have served 40,714 hours providing feeding, shelter, emotional and spiritual care, donations and social services. AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams have deployed 109 volunteers mucking and gutting houses, chain-sawing trees and tarping roofs. Voluntary organizations have assisted 17,000 households with cleanup.
Recovery in Texas will be a long-term process, led by the State of Texas. Federal agencies will continue providing their full support to the state and to local governments to help Texas rebuild with resiliency.
For more information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the Hurricane Harvey disaster web page, the FEMA Harvey Facebook page, the @FEMARegion6 Twitter account and the Texas Division of Emergency Management website.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.