Ten days after Hurricane Harvey swept ashore causing billions of dollars in damages, Houston residents and businesses have begun the arduous process of drying out and rebuilding. The rain totaled nearly 52 inches in some spots, and the storm is blamed for at least 44 deaths.
AP reports that Houston’s mayor insists American’s fourth-largest city is open for business despite some areas still being under water and city services not fully restored.
“Mayor Sylvester Turner said much of the city was hoping to get back on track after Labor Day, a traditional day to honor workers that took on new meaning in Texas, where people were cleaning out their former homes.
“Anyone who was planning on a conference or a convention or a sporting event or a concert coming to this city, you can still come,” he told CBS. “We can do multiple things at the same time.”
IFMA’s World Workplace is scheduled to be in Houston Oct. 18 to 20, and IFMA announced Friday it still plans to be there. (See World Workplace story.)
FEMA says the cleanup and rebuilding will take years.
“This disaster is going to be a landmark event,” Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said on CNN. “We’re setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years.”
President Donald Trump has asked Congress for a $7.9 billion down payment toward Harvey relief and recovery efforts. The cost of recovery could be as much as $180 billion, according to AP.
BOMA International and its Houston BOMA chapter are helping with the recovery.
Houston BOMA has established a GoFundMe account to help Houston BOMA members who have lost their homes and belongings in the flood. The proceeds received will go directly to Houston BOMA members to assist in putting their lives back together. Houston BOMA has donated the first $10,000 to the account. Click to donate.
“BOMA International is in contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to gather any information that may be helpful to our members. Ken Rosenfeld, Director of State and Local Affairs, has been participating in daily Critical Infrastructure Stakeholder conference calls with DHS. Of particular note, it is anticipated that “reentry” will become a serious obstacle—it will be difficult to determine the protocols to check on buildings once the storm is over. Since Texas is a “home rule” state, all authority resides with the local jurisdictions, meaning that there may be unique protocols for each jurisdiction. DHS is preparing a list of the local contacts and protocols. BOMA International will post this information to its website once it becomes available.”
“BOMA International also is assisting the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with their relief efforts. ALAN is seeking donated warehouse space, with priority requests for 10,000 square feet in San Antonio and Austin to support shelters, and another 50,000 to 100,000 in Houston for the Red Cross. FEMA is seeking housing in the Houston area for incoming staff and responders. They are looking for accessible buildings of at least 10,000 square feet, with room to park vehicles, in Houston, Wharton, Brazoria County and Nueces County. The buildings can be “bare-bones,” as FEMA will provide cots, blankets, sanitary facilities and whatever else is needed. Also, the FEMA logistics team is looking for a large, accessible warehouse space of approximately 100,000 square feet in any of the above locations. We have contacted the BOMA local associations in Texas to spread the word to their members about both these requests.”