Apartments open

Rockport Mayor Pat Rios, center, speaks at the opening of the all-new Bay of Aransas apartment complex. (See story page 2A)

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) Disaster Recovery team visited Rockport Monday, Dec. 2 to celebrate the completion of the Bay of Aransas apartments, a multifamily housing complex damaged in Hurricane Harvey that is now fully repaired and ready to house 40 low-moderate income families, at 811 S. Bronte St.

Many guests, including representatives of the GLO, City of Rockport, Aransas County, the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and its Bay Blazers, attended the event.

Aransas County Judge C. H. “Burt” Mills said it was a great day to see another apartment complex completed in Aransas County .

“They were knocked to their knees by Harvey and now they’ve got a place to call home again. It’s just really nice,” said Mills.

Rockport Mayor Pat Rios said it’s something the city has been waiting a long time for and that spots are filling up quickly for the newly remodeled complex.

“It’s another brick in our wall of the rebuilding process,” said Rios. “It’s going to give our workforce a place to live in quality, affordable housing. It’s something they’re going to be proud to call home.

“I understand these are filling up fast. Don’t wait if you want one, come now.”

The GLO has undertaken notable efforts, using $450 million in Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to rebuild 68 different, affordable housing developments; accounting for 4,786 damaged or destroyed affordable rental housing complexes in the 48 affected counties outside the city of Houston and Harris County, which requested and were granted direct allocations of funds from HUD to conduct housing programs.

Diversified Improvement Contractors (DIC) completed the rebuild of the Bay of Aransas apartment complex.

DIC Owner Larry Bunn was present at the event and discussed many of the new additions. For the most part, what was left of the old complex was gutted and replaced with all-new materials.

“They now all have hurricane impact windows that complies with all current codes, fiberglass front doors so that it won’t deteriorate along with frame saver jams, all new cabinets, new sheet rock, new energy efficient appliances, low flow toilet and bath fixtures, all new interior doors, baseboards, all new electrical panels, pretty much everything,” said Bunn. “The only thing that is existing are the bones of the wood structure. It’s all new insulation, walls, and ceilings.”

Bunn said he and his team placed a big priority on energy efficiency.

“We tried to go as energy efficient as possible on everything so we could help residents save on utility bills,” said Bunn.

The exterior of the complex is also brand new, including all staircases, siding, and roofs.

Of the multifamily affordable housing units being rebuilt by the GLO, more than 80 percent are guaranteed to house low-to moderate-income residents for the next 15 years. Deputy Director of the Disaster Recovery Programs of the GLO Heather Lagrone said that Bay of Aransas in particular will stay affordable for the next 20 years.

“You’ve got 40 affordable, two-bedroom units that are coming online and they will stay affordable for the next 20 years,” said Lagrone

The GLO is also utilizing $10 million for additional multifamily projects of a previous allocation of $57.8 million from a congressional appropriation for the 2015 - 2016 flood events that Congress directed HUD to hold in reserve for potential 2017 events. GLO Commissioner George P. Bush requested HUD release these funds three days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall. The Bay of Aransas reconstruction funds were allocated from this $57.8 million allocation.

“This particular project has $1.2 million going in it from the program,” said Lagrone.

The Community Development and Revitalization (CDR) division of the Texas General Land Office administers the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development CDBG-DR funds on behalf of the state of Texas. For the first time in Texas history, following Hurricane Harvey, Governor Greg Abbott tasked the GLO with partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the short-term housing mission in addition to the long-term CDBG-DR effort.

To date, more than $10 billion in combined CDBG-DR funds have been allocated to Texas for long-term housing recovery efforts following Harvey.

At time of press deadline, only $5.676 billion has been approved by HUD.

For more information, visit recovery.texas.gov.

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