The coast of Texas continues to mend post-Hurricane Harvey. Many Federal, State, and Local agencies have executed disaster relief plans across the state to help our residents recover. Some programs are more known than others. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have several resources available that are not common knowledge.

TCEQ created a page of resources that pertain to hurricane recovery and safety. This document includes the phone number to their customer service and after-hours line (1-888-777-3186). Texas residents can call this number to express environmental concerns &/or check on the status of the quality of the environment around them. There are also links to informational documents on: how to safely remove hurricane-related debris; how to check if your water is safe to drink; how to disinfect your private well; ability to check the status of systems in hurricane-affected areas; and more. For more information, please visit TECQ Hurricane Response.

TCEQ’s Hurricane Response webpage contains links to current conditions of air quality, wastewater, etc. You can also find guides on how to manage waste like hazardous materials during hurricane clean-up and how to check for and report underground storage tank damaged caused by a storm. Links to air quality and safety can be found at this website, as well.

Farming and ranching businesses are another economic driver in our community. Those that were affected by the hurricane can seek relief through TDA’s State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund to help during times of disaster. This program is solely funded through private donations from individuals and businesses. You can find more information and the application by visiting The Star Fund. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) also has an Emergency Farm Loan available. You can find the application and qualifications at Emergency Farm Loans.

A resource to highlight for individuals is the Single-Family Housing: Housing Repair Loans and Grants program from the USDA. This program offers loans and grants to very-low-income homeowners and individuals who are at least 62 years old. Very-low-income is defined as below 50% of the area median income. The maximum grant amount from this program is $7,500. The maximum loan is $20,000. Qualifying individuals may be able to receive both. More information and the application can be found at DiasterAssistance.gov. You can find other programs and services for individuals from the USDA by visiting USDA Programs & Services for Individuals.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672