Urban Affairs Committee Meets to Discuss Housing Assistance and Disaster Preparedness One Year After Hurricane Harvey


AUSTIN -  The House Urban Affairs Committee met in Houston on August 20, 2018 to discuss several issues related to housing assistance. The Committee heard invited and public testimony, with the goal of learning more about Hurricane Harvey's impact and how best to prepare for future natural disasters. Representative Ryan Guillen (D - Rural South Texas) is optimistic that the state will be in a better position to deal with the housing problems caused by natural disasters going forward.


"Hurricane Harvey demonstrated the need for improved housing assistance in Texas," said Guillen, "We've learned a lot from Harvey, and I think that will help us when the next hurricane or natural disaster hits."

The meeting first addressed housing needs in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. In particular, testimony focuses on the local, state, and federal governments' responses to the housing needs of those displaced by Harvey. The meeting then looked to future disasters as speakers made recommendations on how best to improve and accelerate the response to future natural disaster, and how best to rebuild and revitalize impacted communities to mitigate future disaster-related damage. The Committee also heard testimony regarding the viability of set-asides under current state and federal programs meant to address natural disaster-related contingencies.

After making landfall in August of 2017, Harvey caused more than $125 billion in damages. The hurricane damaged more than 203,000 homes, with 12,700 of these homes being completely destroyed. On Harvey's first anniversary, Texans throughout the state are still feeling the hurricane's negative effects, especially with respect to housing.


Representative Guillen has previously authored bills aimed at improving and reforming housing assistance in Texas. During the 83rd Legislative Session, Rep. Guillen authored House Bill 429, which expanded the definition of "rural area" to allow more housing developments to qualify for tax credit. These tax credits lead to more affordable housing by finally incentivizing the building of affordable housing developments.


"As we go forward and encounter future natural disasters, we need to make sure that all Texans have access to affordable housing and housing assistance," added Guillen, "Meetings like this one make sure that that will happen."


The 86th Texas Legislature will convene in January 2019. Guillen anticipates filing a slate of new bills to address housing assistance concerns and improve the life of his fellow Texans.


Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at,, and


August 20, 2018