Galveston Residents Urged to Seek Federal Help for Ike Rebuilding

February 11, 2010

Galveston, Texas, officials are encouraging residents whose homes were battered by Hurricane Ike to seek federal rebuilding assistance.

The city on Feb. 28 has to report to the state its progress in administering the $104 million federal Community Development Block Grant program.

Ike slammed the Galveston area on Sept. 13, 2008, becoming the costliest natural disaster in Texas history by leaving behind overall damage topping $29 billion.

The Insurance Council of Texas reported that windstorm insurance claims in Texas resulting from Ike totaled $9.8 billion. Additionally, the National Flood Insurance Program said Texans filed nearly 44,000 flood claims from Hurricane Ike costing $2.175 billion, placing the storm’s total insured losses just under the $12 billion mark.

Galveston has until September 2011 to spend the grant money, or it will be forced to return the funds to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Deb Siefert, who heads the application process, says Galveston officials initially feared too few homeowners would participate, but now it appears the city is ahead of schedule. So far more than 1,100 homeowners have applied for grants.

Out of 800,000 Hurricane Ike claims, Texans filed 2,683 justified complaints with the Texas Department of Insurance giving insurers a complaint ratio of .33 percent, ICT said.

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