UPDATED: February 13, 2018  3:40 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — Texas communities that were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey will be able to apply for more than $1 billion in federal funds that can be used on projects to help prevent or lessen damage from future storms, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday.

The funding can be used by cities and counties to pay for a variety of projects, including buyouts and elevations of homes, seawalls and large scale channeling of waterways.

orange texas floods 842230274 Texas Announces $1B For Mitigation Efforts After Harvey

Robert Licatino helps his son clean up his auto body shop after torrential rains pounded Southeast Texas following Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey causing widespread flooding on September 3, 2017 in Orange, Texas. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“I want to reassure every single Texan that’s impacted by Harvey, that we will never let up until your homes and businesses are restored, until your communities are fully protected from future potential storm damage,” Abbott said during a luncheon in Rockport, one of the many Texas cities that suffered devastating damage during Harvey.

The hurricane made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25 and dumped more than 60 inches of rain in some areas of Southeast Texas after weakening to a tropical storm. The storm flooded thousands of homes, was responsible for 68 deaths and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage.

Abbott encouraged communities to begin applying this week for the funding from the Federal Management Emergency Agency as $500 million is available and ready to be disbursed once communities submit and get approval for their applications.

“This isn’t one of those things where, ‘Gosh, we’re finally going to rebuild once we get the money,'” Abbott said. “The money is here. Checks can be cut immediately as soon as you get your applications in and get them approved.”

The rest of the funds will be disbursed by the anniversary of the storm’s landfall.

While the federal government would typically provide for 75 percent of the funding for such mitigation projects, Abbott said the federal government has agreed to pay for 100 percent of the costs.

In the wake of Harvey, officials in Harris County, where Houston is located, have been working on a proposal for a bond election that would ask voters to approve at least $1 billion to help pay for flood control projects.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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