Man who waited three years for Hurricane Ike aid finally gets relief

March 2, 2012 4:04:45 PM PST
A Galveston man who's waited nearly three years for housing help following Hurricane Ike is finally getting some relief.

Russ Henderson left Galveston when the rising water from Ike reached his street. By the time he got back, there was more than two feet of water inside his home and it was ruined.

He was eligible for a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rebuilding program, but nearly three years later he was still living in this FEMA trailer. A charity in Galveston recently moved him to an apartment, but on Thursday he received the first real sign of progress.

Demolition crews started knocking down Henderson's home. It's the first step in getting his house rebuilt. It's all being done with federal money doled out by the city of Galveston. The city acknowledged it's taken too long.

Three years after the storm, just 12 percent of eligible homes have been rebuilt by the FEMA program.

The city blames it on confusing and burdensome rules from the feds, and the state recently forced the city to change administrators after too little work had been done.

Henderson's home should be complete by mid-April.

With his trailer now off the island, there is just one FEMA trailer remaining from Ike. The city is hoping to move the program along faster with a new administrator.