Shoreacres still recovering from Hurricane Ike

September 13, 2011 9:48:47 PM PDT
Three years on Tuesday, since Hurricane Ike ravaged our area, a hundred angry Houstonians protested outside Houston City Hall. They are mad at having to wait three years for the city's housing department to repair their hurricane-damaged homes. The low-income homeowners demanded the mayor and City Council use the second round of hurricane relief funds to repair single family homes.

The city says it is on pace to rebuild 242 homes by December 2012.

But one city is very familiar with the limbo that often comes with the recovery process after natural disasters. One in seven homes in Shoreacres was destroyed when the storm roared ashore. Three years later, the future of some of those properties is still uncertain.

Shoreacres today is a mix of the new, the rebuilt and houses that have been abandoned. Three years ago, when Ike tore into the bayside community, Shoreacres would lose one in seven houses. It was the hardest hit area in Harris County.

"We're still rebuilding our infrastructure, we're still missing one of our two water plants and we're still on limited sewer capacity," Shoreacres City Manager David Stall said.

At least two FEMA trailers are still in Shoreacres, and some houses that haven't been touched since Ike still stand because claims haven't yet been processed by either the county or the state. And then there are homeowners like Danny Dodson, who repaired his flooded home bit by bit, and he sees life taking hold here again.

"I think for the most part it's coming back; people are resilient you know," Dodson said.

Some, but not all. There are a lot of vacant lots where homes had once stood that are now raw land ready for buyers. The first wave of construction and repairs are over. Now Shoreacres is waiting to see what happens next.

Cindy Booty has lived there nearly all her life, and life changed here three years ago.

"It hurts a whole lot. Still to drive through, it's crushing," Booty said.

She has fewer neighbors now and she is getting to know the new folks who've moved in. And while things have changed, Shoreacres still remains home for her and about 1,500 other people. She has a message that reminds her of that everyday.

"Yes, it's still my home," Booty said.

The city manager says about 20 homes need to be demolished quickly but because the city's tax base shrunk after Ike, Shoreacres doesn't have the resources to do that.


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