AUSTIN, Texas — Recovering from a hurricane can be a long, process. But if you stick to the process, it often pays off.
“There were a few times I thought about giving up,” Sabrina Vanduser said as her grandmother moved into a brand new home. It is a lot to handle, especially [because] you have to get on with your life and do your other stuff.”
In the long run, though, the time and effort resulted in a brand-new house for her grandmother Eleanore Glasgow in October.
“We thought they would come in and repair her mobile home but … then [the Texas General Land Office] called and told us that she would be able to get a new house,” she recalled. “We cried and we cried and we cried. We were so happy.”
Though Glasgow’s mobile home stood 3 feet off the ground before Hurricane Harvey struck in August 2017, the storm filled her home with 2 feet of water, creating an unfixable mold problem.
“FEMA was very fast after the hurricane,” Vanduser said. “They came in and they brought us a couple of FEMA units to stay in.”
FEMA representatives also suggested the family look into the Homeowner Assistance Program run by the Texas General Land Office. HAP repairs and rebuilds owner-occupied single-family homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. It is funded by Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, Vanduser and her family didn’t have access to a computer, so she had to gather all her information in person.
“If you need help, go to the GLO office; they’re more than happy to help you get through that process,” Vanduser said. “FEMA as well — they were very, very helpful and answer all your questions.”
Nonprofit organization Samaritan’s Purse contributed free labor to demolish Glasgow’s old home, then GLO provided the resources to rebuild.
Glasgow’s new house is in the same spot as her previous home, except it’s 4 feet higher off the ground than her previous home to prevent flooding. It also has flood and windstorm insurance, so she won’t need to turn to public programs if her home does flood again — but Vanduser thinks that’s unlikely.
“I feel safe now,” she said. “I believe that [next time the area floods], we’ll all be here at my grandmother’s house, fishing off the deck.”
For additional information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the Hurricane Harvey disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4332, Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMAHarvey, the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at www.twitter.com/FEMARegion6 or the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at www.tdem.texas.gov/.