Dickinson neighbors left wondering why they were denied Harvey relief money

DICKINSON, Texas (KTRK) -- Some Dickinson neighbors are left wondering why they were denied Harvey relief money after feet of water destroyed their homes.

As Hurricane Harvey rolled through Dickinson in late August, nearly four feet of water entered Mary Contreras' home.

"We had raw sewage coming from our toilets and our bathtubs so anything that was touched by the water we had to get rid of," Contreras said.

Four months later, work is nearly complete.

The Contreras' received FEMA funds and a Small Business Association loan, but to get a new floor, Contreras applied for a Dickinson Harvey repair grant. A program established by the city after it received $1,050,000 in donations.

"I actually thought, 'Wow, the city is reaching out to me and my family,' Contreras said.

Despite the amount of damage, she was shocked when a rejection letter arrived.

"I was actually in disbelief at what I was reading, and then yes, I was upset," Contreras said.

In all, the city said 255 homeowners will not get any money.

The majority of those who applied will. 425 people will receive $2,000. Money will also help businesses. All 50 business owners who applied will receive $4,000.

"We had a limited amount of funds and a lot of people in need from this storm," Dickinson spokesperson Bryan Milward said. "So we're just happy we're able to help 60% of the applicants that applied, and 100% of the businesses that applied."

A nine person committee spent hours reviewing applications.

Here's how it worked. Each member reviewed a nameless submission, and ranked each entry based on work needed, and photos submitted. The applications that scored the highest received money.

"There was no water level or anything like that for determining whether or not they got it," Milward said.

A blessing that won't be coming to Contreras.

But with rebuilding nearly complete, she's hoping the money will be a blessing for someone else.

"If I am left wondering, why me, then I will never let it go," Contreras said. "I just want to make sure that it was people who needed it."

The city said it sent out rejection letters first, so people wouldn't wait on the money.

The city hopes to inform everyone within the next couple of weeks.

Although they were denied, there's still a way they could get help.

The city is still collecting money, and if anymore comes in, it will go to those who were denied.

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