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Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Calls on Administration to Act Urgently to Help Hurricane Ike Victims

“Thousands of Hurricane Ike victims will be left behind if the Administration does not act now to extend the utilization of Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds”

Today, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection and a Senior Member of the House Homeland Security, Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs Committees, made the following statement:

“Right after Hurricane Ike devastated Texas in September 2008, I worked hard with the Members of the Texas Congressional delegation to ensure that Texas was appropriated the recovery funds it so desperately needed. In early 2009, the State of Texas received part of these recovery funds, namely $219 million under the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If these grant funds are not utilized by September 30, 2010, these funds will be permanently unavailable for the thousands of Hurricane Ike victims who have been patiently waiting for the completion of social services and for their homes to be restored. It would be shameful for Hurricane Ike victims to lose these funds, and I am calling on the Administration to extend the deadline by 6 months to March 31, 2011.”

“Hurricane Ike has wreaked havoc on Texas, particularly in Galveston and Houston. As we move forward with recovery efforts, it is clear that the impact of this storm has been widespread and many people are still in need of assistance. Unfortunately, Texans are still in need of help, especially the neglected residents of North Galveston. More than 60 Americans and over 26 Texans have died as a result of Hurricane Ike. In addition, the Hurricane has caused millions of dollars in damage throughout Houston and Galveston. The local agencies processing the people impacted by Hurricane Ike for which these funds were utilized, received these funds from the state and federal agencies six months late, and therefore have not been able to complete the process of serving the families impacted by Hurricane Ike. Losing these funds on September 30, 2010, will result in a terrible tragedy for the many people that are still suffering from the effect of the most costly Hurricane in our region.”

“Therefore, I call again on the Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services to extend for an additional six months the deadline for social services agencies throughout the State of Texas to utilize these grant funds in order to ensure that Houston and Texas receive the funds we so desperately need on the road to recovery” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee.

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