Texas Hurricane Harvey program leaves Houston family in tears for the wrong reason

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Hurricane Harvey program leaves family in tears for the wrong reason (KTRK)

A state program aimed to help Harvey victims left one Houston family wondering what went wrong.

In late August, Joan Hankins said a foot of water entered her mom's northeast Houston home.

"Water came up so high, it rushed through," Hankins said.

Although the water damaged their home, that's not what brings Hankins to tears.
"You feel if an organization comes into your house, they're going to do the right thing," Hankins said. "They aren't going to leave you living like this."

A month ago, she got help from the state's PREPS program. Neighbors impacted by Harvey are able to get up to $20,000 worth of work for free.

Hankins said contractors agreed to work on two rooms. But the end result wasn't what she expected.

"This is what they left is this tape," Hankins said. "I'm assuming the reason why they left the tape is they were going to come back."

Instead of new sheet rock, she's left with holes in the paneling, which is now held up by tape. In another room, there's sheet rock, but crews left even more problems.

"After they pulled down everything, they left that hole," Hankins said.

The Texas General Land Office hires contractors to do work. The agency said it established a hotline and created a resolution team to help neighbors who aren't happy with the work. If there's a problem, the agency said it won't give the contractor future projects.

As for Hankins, Eyewitness News stumbled upon her problem while reporter Nick Natario was in the neighborhood on another assignment.

After we contacted the agency, an employee arrived and we're told a contractor will be at her house next week.

A resolution a month in the making, but one Hankins is thankful for.

"If you're an organization that's going to help, help," Hankins said. "If you're not, and don't have the money to fix people's houses, don't come in and destroy it."

The PREPS program has helped thousands here in the area. In fact, the agency is still accepting applicants through next week.

If neighbors have issues, they want to hear from them at 1-888-610-1622.
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