It’s not quite a month post-Harvey, and my family is finally about to be settled. But for so many other families that still isn’t their reality.
Daily updates from friends and family already back in Aransas Pass are hopeful in tone, but disheartening. A lot of members of the community are being denied by insurance companies like we were.
Our denial was because the damages we suffered were flood-based, unlike most others who suffered wind damage.
To make matters worse, FEMA denials are starting to roll in and the hotel vouchers expire on Sept. 25.
My brother-in-law was recently told by FEMA that they won’t be offering him a place to live and, as of now, have no intentions of extending the hotel stays.
They are continuing to help him financially, but that will stop at some point and he is yet to be able to get back to the coast to work.
Hotels are still largely unavailable anywhere near the affected areas.
My husband and I were lucky enough to find an apartment big enough for our family but there is little left available.
Many people, I fear, are about to face a housing shortage across affected areas. This, in turn, would drive the cost of housing up even higher and potentially slow economic recovery as Katrina did in New Orleans.
Another fear echoed by many members of the community is that we will be forgotten.
Between the Houston area floods, Irma’s damage to areas like Key West and Miami and both Irma’s and Maria’s damage to the Caribbean, many are feeling left behind.
Football player J.J. Watt has raised millions for Harvey recovery but that mostly focuses around Houston. In fact, many celebrities have raised money but with a large focus on Houston
George Strait, however, is committed to the Coastal Bend. The country music star visited Rockport on Sept. 21 with Gov. Greg Abbott.
In spite of the many obstacles left, small town Texans across affected areas will persevere. They always do.
Friends and family will come together, as mine has, to help those in need. Companies like H-E-B, Whataburger, Frost Bank and our own Del Mar College won’t leave community members behind.
There is still a long road ahead. However, from here the focus will start to shift from immediate and temporary to long term.