'I feel empty': Couple living in SE Houston apartments devastated after tornado destroys their home

Derrick Lewis Image
Friday, January 27, 2023
Families start rebuilding their lives after tornado destroys home
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More than 300 families now have to find somewhere else to stay after Tuesday's tornado destroyed the Beamer Place Apartments in southeast Houston.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For so many people in the direct path of the tornado, this is just the beginning of rebuilding their lives.

One couple has seen the tornado damage in videos, but when they walked into their home on Thursday at the Beamer Place Apartments, they were in disbelief and couldn't hold back tears.

All Julyssa Deluna and Brianna Gilreath have is each other.

"This is something we worked so hard for. This is where we come and lay our head at night, just to enjoy each other's company," Deluna said.

They moved to this complex in southeast Houston a few months ago. It was their first apartment together.

"I feel empty," Deluna said. "I feel like I don't really have a home to go to. This was our home. I feel empty."

"It's hard, some of this stuff I've had since I was a kid," Gilreath said. "It's hard to look at it and know I can't save it."

Whatever can be saved has to be out by Friday.

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More than 300 families now have to find somewhere else to stay after Tuesday's tornado destroyed the apartment complex.

The apartment complex is helping. If anyone moves to a sister property and wants to move back after the rebuild, they will offer assistance during that process.

"It's been an experience," Loretta Wiley, the Regional Property Supervisor, said. "It's been heartbreaking."

Wiley has spent 35 years helping people find homes. Thursday, she wished she wasn't doing it this way.

"It's such a joy to give someone a home and help them, and now you have to pull all that strength and joy of those 35 years to stay strong," Wiley said.

Families were standing in line for hours to get waivers to go to their homes. Some tell ABC13 they've been wearing the same clothes since the tornado hit.

Once their belongings are out, engineers will go in to look at the property and decide what can be saved.

Management said everything else will be rebuilt.

Deluna and Gilreath have to start rebuilding as well. "We have each other, so we have to be strong for a bigger comeback," Deluna said.

They've set a GoFundMe to help with all the damage.

SEE ALSO: Were you affected by Tuesday's tornado? Here's where you can find shelter after some reach capacity