ROCKPORT, Tx. — Leaders of the state agency that runs the Homeowner Assistance Program, which builds new homes for Hurricane Harvey victims among other things, wants applicants and those considering applying to be patient and to turn to them for help.
"Once we get through the paperwork we can help you with those problems," Brittany Eck of the Texas General Land Office said. "If there's an issue with duplication of benefits or a lack of receipts, come and talk to us before you give up."
The GLO commonly sees those two issues as people apply for a portion of more than $144 million in federal funding. If a HAP applicant has received any other federal Harvey-related assistance, the applicant must provide receipts or other proof that he or she has spent that money according to federal guidelines.
Another requirement victims commonly struggle to fulfill is proving that you own your home. This is especially true in cases of generational homes, when a home has been passed down from generation to generation. Often there's no official tranfer of the deed of the home. The GLO says it works to find ways other than the deed to prove ownership.
"It's been worth the two years of work that we've put into getting the funds, administering the funds, getting the documentation, and getting folks back into their houses," Eck said.
Other federal requirements include having a valid photo ID, proof that you lived in the home at the time Harvey hit, providing the income levels for all adults who live in the home, and proof that you're current on your property taxes or are on a payment plan.
The Mikulenka family met the requirements and was awarded the keys to their HAP home in Rockport Wednesday.
"It's been almost two years, but now Donnie and I can almost say, 'We survived," Linda Mikulenka said. "We're going to be OK, and I hope we can turn around and help some other people, and I hope everybody will go sign up [for HAP]."
"Don't quit," Donnie Mikulenka added in regards to the long application process.
If you would like to start that process you have several options. You can fill out an application online by clicking here. You can print out an application by clicking here. After filling out the application you can mail it or drop it off at the HAP offices in Corpus Christi or Rockport. The Corpus Christi office is located at 1314 S. Staples Street, and the Rockport location is at 2803 Highway 35 N. If you need help with the application process call 844-893-8937. The offices are open and the phone line is manned from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. You can also email for help at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org