Nearly 6 years after Hurricane Harvey: Houston woman still waits for relief to home damaged by storm

Chaz Miller Image
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Woman looking for help as she still lives in Harvey-damaged home
Berlye Magee has been waiting for years and draining her funds to fix her home after it was damaged during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Berlye Magee said only part of her home near the Texas Medical Center has had electricity since Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017.

She also said she hasn't had hot water since that time, so her morning ritual includes putting water in a bucket and bringing it to a boil.

"I have to get up extra early in order to have some hot water to bathe in," she explained.

SEE ALSO: Outgoing Houston mayor backs increasing drainage team budget to $40M but calls on Harris Co. to help

Her home on Payson Street flooded during the storm, and trees and limbs fell in multiple places: on her roof and walls. Some of those holes have been patched, but not all of them.

She's also had to resort to homemade patch jobs but said those only work for a few weeks before failing again.

"It's just been drawing money out of my pocket to the point that I have depleted my funds," she said while describing how water still gets into her home when it rains.

The Texas General Land Office initially allowed the city of Houston to give out federal dollars to Harvey victims for repairs and rebuilds.

Magee applied to take part in that program and said she was making progress, but the GLO took those rights away from the city in 2020 citing slow progress on the city's end.

SEE ALSO: Harris County will receive $750 million after all to go toward preventing flooding after Harvey

Magee said it's been a hassle getting any kind of answers from the GLO.

"They just kept putting me on hold, and telling me they're waiting for this and that," she explained.

Eyewitness News reached out to the GLO Wednesday afternoon, and they said Magee's case has been approved and assigned to a builder.

They added that they have been working with her on the issue, causing repairs to be delayed.

According to the GLO, Magee inherited the home from her mother, but the proper paperwork had not been submitted to the Harris County Appraisal District showing she's now the home's owner.

They said that's what was holding things up, but they're hopeful they can move forward on repairs now that the situation has been rectified.

In the meantime, the holes at Magee's home are still there, the mildew inside her walls is getting worse, and homemade patch jobs are only getting her so far while she waits for assistance.

"It's been one thing after another," she said. "I just want action on my behalf."

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