Aid still slow to Galveston three years after Ike

September 13, 2011 4:43:01 PM PDT
It's been three years since Hurricane Ike hit, and there are still plenty of frustrated Ike victims who say they haven't gotten any help in the recovery.

Dozens of low-income homeowners took their message to City Hall Tuesday, saying they still have blue tarps covering their roofs and they want to a plan to help fix hurricane-damaged homes across Houston.

The city says it's waiting on a new round of disaster relief funds and they're working to cut bureaucratic red tape with the state to get that money to those who need it.

While Houston still has its share of problems, it's also been slow going getting hurricane recovery money flowing to Galveston Island.

The impact of Hurricane Ike can still be seen to this day, especially when it comes to housing.

For Don, every day brings a new chore.

"It's great that people can get back in their homes," said Don, who didn't give us his last name.

He lives in one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in Galveston. More than half the homes near Offatts Bayou were destroyed by Ike.

"We're still working on the inside, doing stuff inside. The outside is pretty much done," Don said. "We moved in about five months after Ike."

Roughly, 20 percent of Galveston's homes are still under repair. Just over $100 million in federal money is helping to fund repairs. Getting that money funneled down from Washington to Galveston has taken about two years. That sounds slow, but it's faster than Galveston's Housing Recovery Committee thought.

"It's longer than I would have anticipated, that's for sure; but every year we get away from Ike I feel better about it," said "Chula Ross Sanchez with the Galveston Housing Recovery Committee.

However, the public housing rebuild has been a lot slower. Three years after Ike, the lots where public housing used to stand are empty. City officials are still deciding where and how to rebuild. One critic wants public housing scattered around the county and not concentrated, as before, in an area north of Broadway.

"It's a crime issue, it's a blight issue, it impacts the school system negatively," said resident David Stanowski.

On Tuesday night, the Galveston Housing Authority is holding a public meeting to discuss their plans for the future.


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