75-year-old Harvey victim still living in trailer 2 years later

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Nearly two years after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, an elderly woman says her home is still untouched even after she reached out to community organizations.

Annie Smith, 75, now lives inside a tiny camper parked right next to her actual house of more than 50 years.

"I love my home," Annie said.

But Tuesday, her house on Spaulding Street in the Trinity Gardens neighborhood is nearly a death trap with mold covering the walls, furniture and floors.

"You can just see the mold continuing to climb," said community advocate Renee Jefferson Smith. "I just think it's unbelievable."

Annie says she didn't feel a need to leave after the flood water receded, so she kept living in the home for months.

"Oh, I was living in there a long time and I just got sick all at once."

She says she ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, where she says she flatlined four times.

"I didn't know mold was coming up in there. I know the floor was rotting, everything was rotting in there, but I was trying to stay in the house," Annie said.

"Being 75 she should not be going through this," Renee said.

We reached out to BakerRipley, the organization that got big money from the state to help hundreds of families.

They tell us they assessed Annie's home, but they couldn't help her.

BakerRipley released this statement to ABC13 Eyewitness News:
"Almost two years after Hurricane Harvey, there are a number of cases similar to Ms. Smith's - Houstonians who are still in need of major home repair and renovations. Ms. Smith's case speaks to the need for having federal dollars available sooner to help communities impacted by federally declared disasters.

The BakerRipley Disaster Recovery teams met with Ms. Annie Smith in January and February to assist her with the recovery process. For her home repair needs, BakerRipley determined that the damages to her home were extensive and beyond the scope of our "Minor" Home Repair program. Based on our evaluation, the home was in need of major repairs, including foundation issues, which should be handled by programs that complete "Major" home repair renovations and are funded with public disaster recovery funds.

Under our BakerRipley Minor Home Repair Program, we repaired close to 1,000 homes helping homeowners return home as soon as possible. Our program's objective was to make homes safe and livable with each home requiring an investment of around $25,000. Unfortunately, the major repairs needed for Ms. Smith's home were beyond our program's and other nonprofit's scope of work.

In March, our Disaster Recovery team informed Ms. Smith that her home was ineligible for our Minor Home Repair Program and so we connected her to other private and public resources that are available to help her with major disaster home renovations."

Renee says instead of mold remediation, the organization gave the 75-year-old a refrigerator, washer and dryer, which all sit in storage.

BakerRipley says they helped Annie apply for the City of Houston Harvey relief program, which got billions in federal dollars.

She is still on that waiting list.

Now the woman who fought through pneumonia and lives in a camper says her eye is on the next storm.

"I thought the wind was blowing and I thought about them trees," Annie said, looking up at the massive branches hanging over her small camper.

Follow Shelley Childers on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.