One of the many questions to emerge after Hurricane Harvey made landfall nearly one month ago is the matter of the bill – who pays to repair the damage?
The answer to the question is complicated because it involves an assortment of government agencies, insurance companies and private money.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has estimated the cost for cleanup after Hurricane Harvey will exceed $180 billion, which would make Harvey one of the costliest natural disasters in the history of the United States.
The state can only bear so much of the burden for Harvey recovery, according to the Governor’s press office.
There is a $100 million Texas Disaster Relief Fund that will be tapped into, as well as the $4 billion 'Rainy Day Fund,' according to Governor Abbott’s office. Money pulled from the Rainy Day Fund must be for a specific purpose, a representative for the Governor said, and cannot be a “blank check.”
Earlier this month, Congress passed a $15 billion disaster aid package specific to Hurricane Harvey expenses.
The bulk of the money from the federal government will come from FEMA, which provides financial assistance to people who live in a federally-declared disaster area whose property has sustained damage.
The National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by FEMA, covers damages for homeowners who have the policy and whose property was flooded. Unfortunately, very few people who live in the area impacted by Hurricane Harvey had this federally-backed insurance.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides longer-term housing assistance to people who sustained damage in the 18 counties that are part of the Harvey disaster declaration:
Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Klebert, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Wharton.
The Small Business Administration is available to provide low-interest disaster loans to affected business owners.