Some questioning distribution of Ike HUD money

November 29, 2011 3:32:38 PM PST
It's been over three years since Hurricane Ike. Long after the skies cleared and the power was turned back on -- the damage is still visible across Houston.

Cutting through the red tape hasn't been easy, but now tens of millions of dollars in federal assistance is on the way. But who should get what? One apartment complex in southwest Houston was pretty run down until federal disaster funds helped repair it, and frankly, it's very nice these days. But there are some people who own homes around the city of Houston who are wondering, where's my share?

"This is a result from the roof being damaged, there's actually a hole that goes all the way through," homeowner Roslyn Johnson said.

Johnson's lived with a leaking, damaged roof ever since Hurricane Ike swept through. She'd like to qualify for some of the federal HUD money the city of Houston is distributing for housing repairs but says three years later, she's still waiting.

"I would like to have my home repaired, I'd like to have a new roof," Johnson said.

The city has already distributed millions of dollars in federal relief money. But Johnson and other critics say the majority of the money has gone to apartment complexes.

Mayor Annise Parker says there's a reason for that.

"They would like us to put the bulk of the money into single family," Mayor Parker said. "I am respectful of the fact that the majority of Houstonians, the majority of Houstonians live in multifamily dwellings."

Parker says fixing apartment complexes, on average, helps more people. The Reserve at Creek Bend, for example, got $4.9 million in federal funding.

"Sixty-six percent of the economic level that they're trying to reach are apartment dwellers," said Jerry Winograd with Judwin Realty.

Winograd says his company used the money to completely rebuild the complex, improving the community and more than 150 families now live in quality housing.

"I think we have a great community, we have a lot of wonderful people living here," Winograd said.

Johnson doesn't disagree with those improvements. She'd just like a new roof as well.

As the money is being divvied up, Johnson and a number of other homeowners are still waiting.

Meanwhile, apartments that received the federal money do have to keep 51 percent of their housing as income-restricted and affordable housing.

But at the end of the day, everybody wants their homes fixed and it's just tough because there's only so much money to go around and distributing takes time.

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