Family recovering from Harvey has FEMA trailer taken away without warning

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ABC13's Tom Abrahams visits with a family who saw their temporary home taken away while they continued to recover from Harvey. (KTRK)

This is a complicated case of recovery and red tape, and it seems a local family got wrapped up in the middle of it.

That family is the Andersons.

The four family members live in the Village of Jones Creek, a city in Brazoria County.

Life after Harvey is still tough. Their home has new drywall and after the storm put more than two feet of water inside of the family's home.

They wash their dishes in the garage, where there is only hot water.

"We're trying to rebuild and live in the house at the same time," said mom Meredith Anderson. "But it's very difficult to do that. "

While they wade through the lengthy process of reconstruction, the family qualified for FEMA help. In late November, a modular house was delivered for them to temporarily call home. Then on Sunday, FEMA came back and hauled it off.

"We should have been living in the trailer house a month and a half ago," said Kenneth Anderson. "A couple of weeks after they brought it, but Jones Creek wouldn't let us "

That's right. FEMA took it because city ordinance doesn't allow modular homes in the Anderson's neighborhood, and the Andersons couldn't get a permit to hook up power.

The city's sixth-month waiver for RV's, which so many neighbors are using, didn't cover the manufactured house.

The Andersons say the city didn't do enough to make a temporary exception. But the city's mayor says they tried. Working through the federal bureaucracy took time, and without warning, FEMA took the house.

"City hall was not trying to do anything against him 100 percent," said Mayor Gordon Schlemmer. "There was nobody trying to dog him or anything. We were trying to make it all legal to where it was right. Nowadays, you have to do it legal."

The mayor said the city finally can move forward with an exception and vote on it next week. Meantime, their congressman, Republican Rep. Randy Weber, is working to see what he can do to get the house back once council votes. The Andersons say they didn't ask to be flooded and in this position in the first place.

"I want to get back to normalcy, just like everybody else," said Meredith Anderson. "I just want things to be normal again "

While the Anderson's maintained the city didn't do enough, the congressman thinks it was federal red tape that was at issue here. Given that the city didn't allow for modular homes and FEMA should have known that, they never should have delivered the house before the kinks were worked out.

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Related Topics:
FEMAhurricane harveyhurricaneroad to recoveryBrazoria County
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