Texas to Get Katrina Relief From FEMA

10-6-05 - Texas is getting $72.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for providing relief for Hurricane Katrina evacuees, some of whom remain in hotels and other temporary housing in the state, Sen. John Cornyn's office said Thursday.

The money, intended to reimburse the state largely for sheltering and transporting evacuees, is the first batch of payments to the state. Cornyn said additional funds were on the way for other Texas cities that hosted thousands of refugees.

The bulk of the first batch of funds, about $48.4 million, will go to Houston and Harris County. The remainder will go to Austin and the state. About $1.7 million will go to the state for the National Guard, Cornyn spokesman Don Stewart said.

Texas took in about 250,000 evacuees when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast Aug. 29, many of them from flooded New Orleans.

The state set up shelters in the Astrodome and other large centers around the state and some members of the state National Guard were dispatched to Louisiana to help distribute supplies and provide security.

Soon after, Texas had to conduct its own evacuation and provide shelter for its residents, including some of the Katrina evacuees, when Hurricane Rita hit the Texas coast Sept. 24.

Cornyn said the reimbursement is "a big step forward toward making Texas whole after its unprecedented efforts."

Texas lawmakers still trying to get reimbursement for the state for the education, health care and other costs.

Here's how the $72.5 million is being divided:

  • $37 million to Houston for interim housing and transportation of evacuees.

  • $9.7 million to Harris County and $1.7 million to Houston for shelter operations.

  • $17 million to Austin for costs providing interim housing to evacuees.

  • $5.4 million to Austin for housing and transportation of evacuees.

  • $1.7 million to Texas for use of National Guard for security, transportation and medical response, both in Texas and New Orleans.