Blame game over who dropped the ball with Hurricane Harvey relief funds continues

Days after an audit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) slammed Houston for doing a dismal job helping the city's Hurricane Harvey victims rebuild. A new complaint, by the agency, is holding the state General Land Office (GLO) accountable for similar reasons.

BACKGROUND: HUD audit slams Houston's management of Harvey relief funds

"I had to put this down; when it was wintertime, I had ice all over this floor," says Sandra Edwards pulling back layers of wallpaper she’s adhered to her bathroom and bedroom floors. 

The same paper is smeared to the walls and climbs up her bedroom ceiling. She says it helps keep her Fifth Ward home warm while she waits for federally funded repairs from Hurricane Harvey damage.

"Every disaster, we are the first ones affected, but we are the last ones to get resources," Edwards says. 

RELATED: Has flood protection in Harris County improved since Hurricane Harvey?

She also says many of her neighbors have given up applying for assistance, but she’s continued contacting the mayor’s office and submitting applications to the General Land Office after years of denials because of back taxes and paperwork that expired while awaiting approvals.

Her walls that have gotten patch jobs are now growing mold from rain that has been trickling in since the 2017 storm.

"I had to leave my house last month, just to breathe again," she says. "They had to put me up in a hotel, but what good is that if I’m back at the problem where the mold is."

Texas was previously approved for $1.95 billion dollars in Harvey aid for flood mitigation projects, but Friday the Department of Housing and Urban Development stopped the funding, issuing a letter saying the state's General Land Office did not provide a required analysis explaining how racially and ethnically diverse areas would benefit from the money.

"If the people making these decisions were as uncomfortable as those people who are suffering, this would have been taken care of," says Congressman Al Green during a press conference held Saturday morning in response to the letter.

MORE: Four years after Hurricane Harvey, Houston mayor says the city is less vulnerable

Green who serves on the federal subcommittee on housing wants the general land office to meet with HUD, along with Mayor Sylvester Turner after Houston was left out of GLO's plans for distributing funds.

"If GLO does not conform, I am prepared to move forward with legislation [so] that we can move the funds," says Green. "I would like to see Houston directly funded from the federal government. That would eliminate this as a problem."

GLO has issued plans to award $750 million to Harris County. A representative from the office responded to HUD's letter stating:

"The GLO submitted 628 pages of meaningful analysis – it is Appendix H of the action plan amendment. This is a purely political move by HUD considering they notified the press more than an hour before it notified its grantee, the State of Texas… HUD must approve this funding now, before the next storm hits."

MORE: Texas GLO extends application deadline for Hurricane Harvey Homeowner Assistance Program

According to HUD, the GLO has 45 days to provide the required analysis. After years of appealing to the General Land Office directly, Edwards says she's expecting an inspector Monday.

"You shouldn’t have to wait five years for a storm to get your house repaired," Edwards says she can no longer wait for the Harvey funding blame game to play out between the state and local politicians.

"Just show me something, do something, and I’ll be content," she adds.