"I came down here to raise $10k worth of hell' says Harvey victim

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When Hurricane Harvey hit two years ago, Claudette Deese said it wasn't just her floors that became soaked with water as it creeped into her home. Her roof started to fall apart, causing leaks and extensive damage.

"We were blessed it didn't totally collapse," Deese said as she sat in a packed hallway, waiting to speak with someone from the City of Houston about her housing situation.

Deese joined hundreds of Houstonians at Thursday's Harvey Recovery Town Hall where Mayor Sylvester Turner acknowledged the city's Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts have been "painstakingly slow."

"The process is antiquated and it does not work for the people who need help the most," Turner said during the event at the Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center. "It's like being victimized all over again. It takes too long."

On Friday, just shy of the two-year anniversary of Harvey, only one person received keys to a rebuilt house. And, despite nearly 5,000 people being invited to apply to the city's Harvey recovery program, only 36 applications had been approved.

Meanwhile the city has already paid $6 million to a team of consultants hired to manage the storm recovery efforts and make sure flood victims get the aid they need.

In Houston, the city is operating its own $1.2 billion federally-funded program, and Turner tried to reassure concerned residents that there's still plenty of funds left to help families, saying "The money is coming, but it's painfully slow."

RELATED: 'Not there yet:' Two years later, Houston, county lag behind state in Harvey recovery efforts

Turner told residents they hope to hire more employees to help speed up the inspection process and streamline the program to increase its success.

"The storms are gonna keep coming," Turner said. "We need to work to streamline the process so people don't have to wait this long to get the money for their repairs, otherwise when the next storm comes, it'll be the same thing."

Marsha Lister, 49, attended the town hall looking for answers as to why the process has taken so long. She said whenever she calls to get an update on the status of her application, she can't get a clear picture and receives different responses every time.

"It's extremely frustrating. I came down here to raise $10,000 worth of hell about it because I think it's been enough time passed," she told 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg. "The staff should be able to articulate to anybody that calls in what your status is."

Lister says the latest status of her application is that it has been approved, but she says that hasn't improved her situation any.

"I'm still in a waiting mode. Still waiting for them to come in order for them to do what they need to do," she said.

Earlier this month, community activist Keith Downey told 13 Investigates he doesn't know a single person in the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood who has received help from the city. He says the town hall gives residents the sense of clarity and transparency they need.

"What gives me hope is the fact that you're coming out, you're listening to the people," said Downey, president of the Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood No. 52. "Tell people what's under the hood and that's what I heard tonight. People are being told this is where we are, we understand you've been waiting a long time."

After the town hall, Lister went up to Turner and says he promised to look at her case. He even introduced her to the director of the city's department of housing and community development.

"I feel very humbled and I feel very lucky to be approved, but I'm still a taxpayer," she said.

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