Housing help makes all the difference

March 13, 2009 4:16:54 PM PDT
Six months ago today Hurricane Ike tore a path of destruction through Galveston and Houston, and changed lives forever. Even now, countless neighbors in our area are still trying to get their lives back in order. Some have been hit hard by both the storm and the recession. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The Houston area may not have been devastated the same way as Galveston and the surrounding areas, but just a look at the remaining blue tarps on roofs reminds us that thousands of people suffered a lot of damage. Some homes are salvageable with repairs, but other residents have had to relocate. Some people were able to find another place to live with some much needed help.

We remember the images of the devastated neighborhoods with debris everywhere. Angelete Delmar doesn't have to see the images today to remember. She lived through it.

"The water from the bayou just decided to extend itself into the living room, the kitchen, my bedroom, everything," she recalled. "When I came home the day after, water was still at my back door."

The newly divorced mother of two was in school and looking for a job, and now had to find a new home for her boys. Her FEMA application would eventually lead Delmar to the Houston Housing Authority, which provided her the financial backing for a temporary apartment.

Houston Housing Authority spokesperson Terry Abbott explained, "There are thousands of people out there impacted by Hurricane Ike. Even though it's been six months, at lot of them still are not to where they can support themselves yet."

Each family's case is different, but the housing authority will gradually require participants to gradually increase their rental payments, until they can leave the memories of the hurricane devastation behind, and begin a new life.

"Because of the help I'm receiving from HUD, I don't have to worry about meeting my rental payments. I can focus on my unemployment issues at this moment, and my children, of course."

Delmar is actively looking for a job and finishing up school. She's expected to receive her college degree in about a year. In the meantime, she's grateful for the Houston Housing Authority and the help it's providing for so many Ike evacuees.

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