Thanks to an organized effort from colonia residents, along with LUPE and the Equal Voice Network, residents from across the Rio Grande Valley will receive assistance for housing damage repair that was caused by hurricane Dolly in 2008. The federal government disaster recovery program is distributing $122 million to help residents, taking into account to prioritize the lowest income families.
Residents from colonias in Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties filled to capacity the three public hearings hosted by the LRGVDC (Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council) in Weslaco. After a well organized effort in the public hearings, major shifts from the LRGVDC’s outreach contractor were evident in their outreach map as many of the colonias were added for prioritization. Prior to the public hearings many colonias that were flooded and damaged were being excluded from prioritization by that contractor, but the residents’ presence and strong voices shifted that and proved to be another example that when neighbors organize with LUPE, they will see results.
We are now studying the requisites of the applications for assistance to better help educate and consult residents in the application process. We are still in the process of learning the specific qualifications for housing repair. If your house was damaged by hurricane Dolly, communicate with your organizer to find out if you can receive assistance.