Help arrives for victim 18 months after Ike

HOUSTON Nicolas Velasquez' walls got wet during Hurricane Ike and nothing had been done about it.

"Had a lot of mildew in the kitchen, on the ceiling," she said. "The drywalls were all mildew. The bathroom was all mildew."

And that wasn't all.

"The bedroom was cracked," Velasquez said. "The hurricane seemed to have moved the structure."

But Velasquez didn't have anywhere else to go. So for the last year and a half, she lived in her mildewed, cracked house and hoped for help.

They fixed the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom and the bathroom," she said.

'They' are the Neighborhood Centers Incorporated's Stay Connected program. Friday and Saturday, they held an Ike recovery fair in the Almeda area. It's one of many fairs held throughout southeast Texas to help people with damaged homes get connected with resources to help them recover.

"We're trying to bring people's homes back to pre-Ike disaster status," explained Dorothy Martin with Neighborhood Centers.

The recovery fairs are paid for by $43.2 million from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Even though a year and a half has passed, Stay Connected wants to let storm victims know there's still money available.

Velasquez said, "Thank God for the angels I met from the Neighborhood Center."

According to its website, Neighborhood Centers Incorporated helps more than 230,000 people in Houston and along the Gulf Coast every year. To learn more about the Neighborhood Centers you can call 713-667-5853 or visit their website.

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