With President Obama’s major flooding disaster declaration of certain Texas counties the long-term disaster rebuilding process will soon begin again. We have been through this too many times. Each time everyone involved notes that the process takes far too long and is inefficient. Each time we pledge to learn lessons and apply them to the next disaster. And, each time we don’t apply those past lessons and end up starting all over again.
Several of us who work on disaster recovery for low-income Texans put together a short video describing the three simple things Texas should fix to improve disaster recovery.
Three things our video describes that Texas needs to do are:
- Set up programs that rebuild homes faster;
- Better manage government programs to cut costs and help more families rebuild; and
- Apply the lessons from past disaster rebuilding programs to today’s disaster.
The knowledge to do these things is available, but we have to act on it.
- The recommendations of the legislatively mandated Texas Natural Disaster Housing Reconstruction Advisory Committee from six years ago are not implemented.
- The pilot programs established by the Legislature in 2009 to develop faster, less expensive ways to rebuild homes proved successful, but have not yet been adopted by the State of Texas.
- This weekend the Texas Legislature will consider legislation to allow local governments to work with the state and federal governments to set up disaster rebuilding programs in advance of the next disaster so Texas will be better prepared.
It is time to apply the lessons we know work to save Texans the delays and suffering that come with an inefficient and overly long rebuilding process.