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Disaster declared in several Texas counties, but comprehensive recovery strategy still needed [Video]

On the day before Thanksgiving, President Obama signed an official federal disaster declaration for the Texas counties affected by severe storms in October. The declaration means that residents of 15 counties, including those in the areas around Austin and Houston and in the Rio Grande Valley, can apply for temporary housing and home repair grants, property loans and more.

The assistance is badly needed for the many Texas families whose homes were damaged by the October storms, particularly the low income families most vulnerable to natural disasters. Unfortunately, Texas lacks a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that could provide these families with relief much more efficiently immediately after disaster strikes, rather than waiting on a federal response.

This is the second time this year that President Obama has declared a disaster in our state. Severe flooding in May also left many families in dire need of assistance. In the wake of the May floods, our co-director John Henneberger wrote in the Texas Tribunethat there are three major problems …

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