Hurricane Harvey Arrives
On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category four hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds and dropping a record 50 inches of rain. From August 26-30, Harvey covered 70% of Harris County with 1.5 feet of water, affecting an estimated 136,000 structures. Fredrick and Alta Hodges, longtime homeowners and empty nesters in the Katy area, woke the first morning the storm passed through, to churning rain, lightning and wind as it hovered over the city. "We were not concerned at this point," said Fredrick Hodges III, "we have lived here for many years, through many storms and hurricanes, and flooding was not an issue for us."
At that point, the bayou near their home was rising, but did not appear threatening to the surround homes.
The Hodges monitored the storm's progress while keeping an eye on their street and the driveway, because they were going to drive out if things got out of hand.
Throughout the next day and that night, there were reports that the reservoirs were rising and the dams may be opened to release the water. "On the morning of the 28th," Fred continued, "we saw the water was up over our neighbors' cars' wheel-wells and it was rising quickly. I knew then we would not be able to get out on our own."
The Hodge's neighbor called soon after to say the Coast Guard was on their way to bring them out of the community. "It was time to leave," said Fred, "because on the 29th there would be a mandatory evacuation where the front door of each home was checked with an X to alert rescuers who had left. A few hours after that I looked outside and the water was lapping at the front step, and the Coast Guard had arrived."
The Hodges and several neighbors were taken through the community's front gates onto Mason Road and then turned south toward the West Park Tollway bridge. "Cars and trucks were under water all along the street," said Fred. "It was surreal, we were in shock."
Ultimately, the Hodges home received two and a half feet of water in their home but it would be 10 days before they could return. "That was the worst part," said Fred. "Knowing our house flooded and we couldn't get in to assess for 10 days. There was going to be a mold problem and we worried about that more than anything else."
During those 10 days, the Hodges stayed in touch with several neighbors and their HOA president. The remediation process began with volunteers from a local church who came into the Hodges home to remove sheetrock and carpet. "I couldn't do a lot of the physical part of tearing out the sheetrock," said Fred. "We were so grateful that these volunteers were there for us."
Many of the homeowners in their neighborhood had not returned at this point and their HOA was keeping everyone up to date on any security issues in the community. An HOA meeting was set that included Congressman Pete Olson and focused on FEMA and other options for assistance. Kate MacMullan with Saint Bernard Project (SBP), had provided handouts for the meeting about the rebuilding initiative, BuildAid.
BuildAid, a non-profit initiative of HomeAid Houston, provides full home repair services to homeowners across the Houston area who experienced flooding due to Hurricane Harvey. BuildAid was recently selected as a recipient of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (HHRF) and presented with a grant for $5.5 million. HHRF was established by Houston's Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Emmett and is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Those who have met the pre-qualification requirements will be matched with experienced builder members of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) who will walk them through a finish selection process. The scope of services provided to a homeowner varies by household, but typically includes the following cost categories: insulation/drywall/tape/float/texture/paint, cabinetry, countertops, millwork & trim, door hardware, plumbing, kitchen and bathroom tile, pre and post-construction inspections and final clean. The builder provides a detailed, line item estimate of the rebuild and will manage the construction process from beginning to end.
The Hodges contacted Kate MacMullan and she made the arrangements to bring in BuildAid Director Chris Yuko. "The Hodges were the ideal candidate for this initiative," said Yuko. "Kate and I explained the program step by step, and they were beginning to feel encouraged that they were not in an insurmountable situation. They were quickly approved and matched with a David Weekley Home builder to begin the rebuild."
The Hodges have worked directly with the builder to make selections for flooring, cabinets, countertops and paint. "We felt so blessed to have found BuildAid and to work with the professionals associated with this program," said Fred Hodges. "It began with our HOA president, and her efforts to help the entire community. Once we made contact with Kate and Chris, we knew our lives were about to change for the good, and our future is definitely much brighter."
Construction has moved quickly for the Hodges and their home will soon be completed.