ABC13 Exclusive: 'AOC' among other US representatives that toured Houston storm damage

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Filling a toilet tank with water from buckets is not how Kory Haywood and Dolores Lozano expected to spend their weekend. They are boiling water, cleaning up, and hoping the damage to their home doesn't get worse.

They closed a year ago next week, and now they are a symbol of a failed system. This is their first home, and its located in Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia's district. Three members of congress toured the damage left behind in that home after this week's storm.

She brought with her fellow Houstonian Representative Al Green and U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, whose efforts raised more than 3 million dollars for relief in Texas.

"A lot of these homes are still unstable from Harvey," Lozano told the lawmakers. "A lot of them haven't had any type of like construction done. So I don't know if that damage was from Harvey, but leaks in your roof and then this major freeze comes."

They may need federal help which is on the way after President Joe Biden signed a disaster declaration that freed up money and more.

"We're going to work hard to bring the dollars necessary to Texas and to Houston. So we all have a full recovery," Rep. Garcia said, as she suggested homeowners be meticulous when seeking aid. "Document. Take pictures. Keep track of your receipts because you can already go online to start applying for help. "
When ABC13 asked her what she will take back to D.C. from this trip, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said, "I think the message in Washington is, let's not let people get caught up in a bunch of red tape. Let's try to get this assistance out the door as much as people need and as quickly as we can."

The quicker, the better for countless storm survivors like Haywood and Lozano.

"We're resilient," Lozano said. "We're going to be fine. We just need to check on our neighbors and make sure they're okay as well."

To start the process of receiving federal help, visit the Disaster Assistance website or call 1-800-621-3362.

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