Land Commissioner & local leaders launch search for Harvey victims owed millions

The search is on for hundreds of Houstonians owed millions in Harvey relief.

Back in January, FOX 26 was the first to reveal a "colossal fail" by the City of Houston which, in the months after Hurricane Harvey, forcibly relocated residents of four flood-prone apartment complexes and then neglected to pass through millions of federal re-location dollars to the displaced tenants. 

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UH Doctoral Candidate Pratchett Bhatt was among 900 Houstonians due benefits totaling more than $40-million dollars - funding that's been in imminent peril of being permanently withdrawn.

"I know people who have not gotten the money. They (City) really weren't interested in providing these funds, and I am really not sure why," said Bhatt.

Fast-forward three months and a "first ever" appearance at Houston City Council by Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, a Republican, but also long-time friend and State Senate colleague of Mayor John Whitmire.

"I'd like to thank HUD for an extension of two more years for us to be sure the Hurricane Harvey funds get deployed," announced Buckingham.

FOX 26 Houston is now on the FOX LOCAL app available through Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Google Android TV, and Vizio!

In cooperation with the City, Harris County and an array of community activists, Buckingham is launching a search for the hundreds of families short-changed re-location funds - as much as $30,000 per household.

"We are talking about people getting along to make a difference," said Whitmire about the effort. 

FOX 26 spoke one-on-one with Buckingham about breaking the impasse and insuring relief is available, even six long years after the storm. 

"Good relationships always help, because there is a level of trust that might not have been there otherwise. I think one of my greatest frustrations when first taking office was that the Mayor at that time, Mayor Turner, had no interest in any kind of a productive relationship. If you were one of those residents displaced from one of those apartment complexes, we have resources to help you. We are doing everything we can to find you, but we need everybody's help," said Buckingham.

Residents eligible for relocation aid must have been evicted by the City from the Biscayne at City View, Monticello Square Apartments, Apian Way Apartments, or the Spring Village Apartments.

For more information contact the GLO at