East Texas council fighting for Ike funding

Walter Diggles
Walter Diggles

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Donna McCollum - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A storm of a different kind is blowing in Washington offices and conference rooms. The department of housing and urban development rejected a state plan that would have allocated over $208 million for hurricane Ike recovery. It's now down to $96 million. Where did the money go? The Houston-Galveston area.

DETCOG leaders are frustrated with HUD.

"Surprised that they got so directly involved and begin to almost micromanage the whole process," DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles said.

"And the longer it goes on, the more pain they have to bear which is kinda ridiculous," Diggles said.

DETCOG is retaining legal council. They're keeping a watch on the allocations going to the valley, a place hit by Hurricane Dollie, but still far less damage than what Ike did to East Texas.

"They were getting quite a bit of the funding while we were being reduced," Diggles said.

Something difficult to accept when FEMA's own studies clearly show all of East Texas, particularly Polk, San Jacinto and Tyler counties have yet to recover from Ike's damage.

"There are 724 families that have affected by Hurricane Ike. Most of those have filed with FEMA for assistance, for housing assistance and the one above that number equal to the total damages of over $60 million," Diggles said.

Right now DETCOG remains in a holding pattern waiting to see if HUD will approve the state's latest submission.

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