Homeowners left in limbo after Ike

October 24, 2008 5:27:17 PM PDT
Hundreds of Hurricane Ike victims are in limbo, still waiting to hear if they'll be able to rebuild their homes. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim

Under the city's permit process, any home tagged green suffered minimal damage. Therefore permits to rebuild are allowed. Red tagged homes have substantial damage. Those homeowners cannot pull permits.

Yellow tagged homes suffered damage between 30 and 70% of the home's value. More than 6,000 homes in Galveston are currently yellow tagged. That tag prohibits homeowners from applying for construction permits, at least until a FEMA inspector examines the house to see if it's repairable or has suffered substantial damage.

"A yellow determination isn't a final determination," explained Alicia Cahill with the City of Galveston. "All homes and structures will be turned either red or green."

For many homeowners, waiting through the process has been difficult.

Homeowner Betty Butler said, "It's just the frustration. I mean, I just want to get back in my home."

FEMA is assessing the yellow tagged homes, they say at a rate of more than 200 per day. Those reports then get sent back to the city, which decides whether homeowners can rebuild. If a home's damage assessment is more than 50% of the home's value, the home will be red tagged.

The city says it hopes to have more assessments processed within ten days.

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