OLSON APPLAUDS APPROVAL OF IKE EMERGENCY FUNDING EXTENSION
WASHINGTON, DCâ€“ Today Rep. Pete Olson applauded the House for passing Senate legislation to maintain the use of critical dedicated emergency Hurricane Ike Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds. In July, Olson introduced a companion measure to extend the deadline for one year.
â€œHurricane Ike was a devastating natural disaster that decimated Texas coastal communities and Iâ€™m pleased that my colleagues in the House understand what is at stake and did the right thing,â€ Rep. Olson said. â€œThis was not new spending, but time to spend already allocated funds. This extension is critical to the recovery of the Houston-Galveston region. Families are still putting their homes and lives back together. The local communities and organizations in charge of this effort will put this funding to good use so that families and individuals can fully recover and move forward.â€
Dr. Ben G. Raimer, Senior Vice President, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston said, â€œThe extension of the SSBG funds to address the unmet needs of those people in our community who still suffer ill effects from Hurricane IKE is a vital part of our continued recovery. We are pleased to learn of Congressman Olson's successful efforts to extend the funding which permits health care and social service organizations in our area to continue their important work. This program has been most successful in permitting local providers to put the monies to use where it is most needed in community recovery.â€
Anna M. Babin, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Houston said, â€œIn the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, communities along the Texas Gulf Coast have never faltered in their commitment to help those in need -- the most vulnerable --seniors, individuals with disabilities and low-income families. Thousands have been served by the Social Services Block Grants. Thousands of families continue to face challenges in repairing their homes and their lives since disaster recovery is a long process. Additional resources continue to be critical to complete the work.â€
The SSBG funds required an extension beyond the September 30th deadline. A total of $600 million in emergency SSBG funds were allocated with $219 million coming to Texas and $93 million dedicated to the Houston-Galveston region. The Senate has passed a one year extension for use of these funds so the bill will now go to the President for his signature. This legislation ensures that Ike affected Texas communities will be able to continue their recovery. The House passed the bill by a vote of 366-40.
Media Contact: Melissa Kelly, 202-225-5951