Council approves $400 million for Harvey relief

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Ronnie Johnson's been waiting nearly a year and a half for help fixing his Harvey-damaged home.

Denied by FEMA and without insurance, a state program made the house livable, but not comfortable.

The $400 million dollars passed Wednesday is aimed at helping families like his. The city estimates it could go to help as many as 4,500 damaged homes, possibly more.

"These homes are in bad shape," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "The quicker we can get started, the better."

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But at city hall Wednesday, there was a debate about making them wait just a bit longer as at least one council member was concerned about how your money was being spent.

"I think it's fair to ask of the general contractors, who will be receiving up to $60 million, who are these folks?" asked council member Mike Laster.

The contract is divided between six companies - who each hired more subcontractors. The subs will split a total of $136 million dollars. Laster told us he had a tough time getting the details on just who was behind the contracts. He requested to delay today's vote - council didn't agree. When the contracts passed, Laster was one of just two no votes.

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Turner insists it's time to get started on repairs.

"The process has the utmost integrity, highly transparent, and will meet the needs of the people who need our help the most," he said.

The city hopes to start repairs in March.

If you need help, you can apply by visiting the city's Harvey Recovery site.

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