Press Release

Churches and FEMA collide in Houston court today Court to hear Texas churches’ plea for equal access to disaster relief grants

Media Contact

Melinda Skea 202-349-7224 media@becketlaw.org

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Houston federal court will hear argument and possibly issue a ruling today Harvest Family Church v. FEMAa case that will decide whether flooded houses of worship in Texas can have access to certain disaster relief grants on equal footing with other non-profits. After Hurricane Harvey caused one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, Becket filed a lawsuit against FEMA on behalf of three devastated Texas churches—Harvest Family Church, Hi-Way Tabernacle, and Rockport First Assembly of God—arguing that houses of worship should be allowed to have equal access to FEMA aid. Since the lawsuit was filed, all three churches – and many others – have been told by government officials that they are not eligible for FEMA aid, and First Assembly even had a grant application rejected explicitly and solely because it is a church. This issue affects all houses of worship including churches, synagogues, and mosques.   

What:
Oral Argument in Harvest Family Church v. FEMA 

Who:
Daniel Blomberg, counsel at Becket
Charles Stoker, pastor of Hi-Way Tabernacle

When:
Tuesday, November 7, at 3:30 p.m. CST 

Where:
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
515 Rusk Avenue
Courtroom 3−A
Houston, Texas 77002

Becket attorneys will be available for comment immediately following the hearing.  

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Melinda Skea atmedia@becketlaw.orgor 202-349-7224.Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 

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Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court.For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including  Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians(read more here).