By Justin Walker
Communications Specialist

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is set to receive $76.7 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as reimbursement for managing a program in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Lauren Hersh, external affairs officer with FEMA, said the GLO is receiving the grant because it supervised the Partial Repair and Essential Power for Sheltering (PREPS) Program, which had a total cost of more than $170.5 million after Harvey.

“The PREPS Program provided emergency repairs and power restoration to single-family, owner-occupied homes,” Hersh said. “These repairs made the home safe, sanitary and secure, so the owner could return home rather than living in a shelter or hotel.”

The funds will be geographically-distributed across rural and urban counties, Hersh said. About 21 rural and 20 urban counties will receive funds, but Hersh noted urban counties will likely receive more funds due to higher population totals.

The grant stipulates a 10 percent matching requirement from the state, or $8.5 million, which will bring the total to roughly $85 million.

Awarding the grant allows FEMA to live by their mission of helping people before, during and after natural disasters, Hersh said.

“Really what FEMA does is sign people up and match them with the program that will help them get back on their feet,” she said.

FEMA does this through a local and state partnership, which Hersh said is important.

“No one knows the area better than the people who live there,” she said.

Hersh noted residents in disaster areas are usually in shock after the events occur. She said FEMA is there to provide a human touch and guide them through the next steps on the road to recovery.

Click here for more information on recovery efforts in Texas.