Severe property damage overwhelms Houston mom of 2 following winter storm

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas homeowners and renters who suffered damage to their homes due to the winter storm will now be able to apply for disaster assistance through FEMA.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management along with the Texas Military Department and TCEQ announced Saturday that more help from the state, surrounding states and federal government is heading to the Texas area to help distribute water, food and provide shelter or aid to those who have suffered in the wake of a historic winter storm.

Sequoia Phillips, a single mother of two young boys in Houston's Jersey Village, is one of the Texans who experienced devastating damage to her home due to the storm.

Phillips walked ABC13 reporter Roxie Bustamante through what is left of her house on Saturday. Phillips said she was staying at a hotel due to the power outages this week and went to check on the house on Wednesday. That's when she discovered that several pipes had broken causing severe ceiling and water damage to every room of the home.

"I ran over to my neighbor's house, and luckily he was able to shut the water off," Phillips said. "While I'm outside I literally hear my house just falling apart. I hear boom, crashes."

Phillips is a renter but does not have renter's insurance. She said an adjuster assessed the damaged and told Phillips the pipes throughout the house would have to be replaced, taking at least two months. The water would have to be shut off until repairs are made, leaving Phillips to replace her and her sons belongings as well as find temporary housing.

"I was at Walmart earlier, and people were walking around, and the sun was shining like nothing ever happened," Phillips said as she fought back tears. "I'm over here like, where do I even start?"

Phillips has set up a GoFundMe and is searching for temporary shelter for her and her two sons.

In addition to providing water distributions citywide, Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted on Saturday that the city is asking FEMA to send plumbing materials and supplies to help Houstonians.

Here's where you can get help, or volunteer to help others:

FEMA Emergency Aid Program

Residents in 77 counties across the state, including Harris County, can now apply for assistance relief through FEMA. First, registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585.

City of Houston

Bottled water distribution will be held Sunday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. at Butler Stadium, 13755 South Main Street

Houston residents can also visit the Houston Emergency website for updates on resources the city is providing.

American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region

Disaster relief and recovery efforts available through the Red Cross as well as information on finding open shelters. Visit the website for more details on how to get help or volunteer.

Houston Food Bank

The Houston Food Bank is working with community partners to host food distribution events.

The Houston Food Bank will be hosting a large food distribution at NRG on Sunday, Feb. 21 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (8510 Kirby Dr - Blue Lot). Gates will open as early as 7 a.m. You can also visit the Houston Food Bank's winter storm page and enter your ZIP code on the map to find emergency pantries near you.

Crowd Source Rescue

The organization's primary goal is to help the vulnerable population in Houston get the resources or supplies they need. For more information, visit: Crowd Source Rescue

Houston ISD

In partnership with the Houston Food Bank, HISD will be assisting our families with food box distributions on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Barnett Stadium and Sunday, February 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at NRG; Monday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hattie Mae White; and Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Barnett Stadium. You can also click here, for a list of winter storm resources.

Texas Department of Emergency Management

The state department is collecting damage assessment data from the storm. Click here to report damage.

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