By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
As remnants of Hurricane Harvey move out of Texas and toward Louisiana, local media are beginning to report on the devastation.
Owners of property in association-governed, common interest communities face a double whammy in terms of repairing and rebuilding. They face extensive clean up and loss of common property and association-managed infrastructure in addition to personal loss of their own homes and belongings. Condo units in multifamily buildings are, of course, inseparable from common infrastructure.
FEMA has been struggling to maintain financial solvency for more than a decade. See the following GAO report summary here.
Although industry trade groups such as Community Associations Institute (CAI) have been lobbying Congress to amend federal law to force FEMA to provide federal funding for clean up and repair of common infrastructure in homeowner, condominium, and cooperative associations, political support for allocating scarce public resources to private communities is unlikely, especially since most property owners have not purchased flood insurance.
In case you missed the widespread reports, 80% of homes damaged of destroyed by Harvey were not insured through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Clearly, Federal, state, and local governments must seek alternative funding resources to assist in recovery efforts, and to address our nation’s growing housing crisis. Housing, storm water management, environmental protection, and flood control policies are all ripe for reform.
But will government and private citizens work together to create effective solutions?
As reports of damage and destruction from Hurricane – Tropical Storm Harvey are made public, this post will be updated. Readers: if you see a report, you can email the link using the contact form on this web page.
First look at Rockport condo: ‘It’s just terrible destruction’
Nicholas Zamora, KENS 10:41 PM. CDT August 29, 2017
SAN ANTONIO – Struggling with the decision to evacuate his home in Seguin, Neal Brodbeck has had a mentally and emotionally draining weekend.
Though he was physically safe from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, like many in Rockport, Brodbeck lost so much.
“When we realized the direct hit was going to be Rockport, that’s when we knew we were going to probably be in trouble,” Brodbeck said.
Rockport, where Hurricane Harvey first made landfall, now sits abandoned and in ruins. And families, like Neal Brodbeck’s, are left sorting through the pieces of what’s left.
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Flooded-out Conroe-area residents returning to damaged homes
By John S. Marshall, firstname.lastname@example.org Updated 8:16 am, Thursday, August 31, 2017
The Courier of Montgomery County
As floodwaters from the downpours of Tropical Storm Harvey recede, Conroe-area residents forced from their homes are returning to heart-wrenching scenes, while Conroe officials begin the lengthy process of assessing the damage. City officials say emergency workers were shifting their focus early Wednesday from emergency responses and evacuations to evaluating the damage from Harvey’s floodwaters. With crews just making their way into neighborhoods early Wednesday morning, no damage figures were available.
A community that was among the hardest hit was River Plantation, south of Conroe, where residents had to flee their homes in the middle of the night early Monday when the San Jacinto River flooded the community after record releases from the Lake Conroe dam.
An email from the River Plantation Community Improvement Association in response to a request from The Courier about damage in the neighborhood did not provide details, but said a resource point was being set up at the association office.
Also hit hard was McDade Estates, off FM 2854, near the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. Police and city officials knocked on doors of neighborhood residents early Monday telling them to get out ahead of the floodwaters.
A call to the McDade Estates Homeowners Association seeking information about the status of the community was not immediately returned.
Residents left stranded as bridges, roads crumble in Bastrop County
Mary Huber Austin Community Newspapers Staff
11:00 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 Local News
The damage from Tropical Storm Harvey spans Bastrop County from its farthest eastern corner to its westernmost stretches — the heavy rain eating away roads and bridges, many of them privately owned and wouldn’t qualify for government funding for repairs.
In Red Rock, thunderstorms on Sunday night took out a concrete reinforced bridge on Sand Hills Road, leaving about 30 homeowners stranded in the neighborhood, where there is only one road in and out.
“No one could imagine the amount of rain that came down Sunday night. It was unimaginable,” resident Joe Dickson said. “When that water went down in the morning, we saw that bridge gave out. It was pretty much the worst-case scenario.”
Houston neighborhood’s HOA president talks about flooding
Steve Pierce, president of the Memorial Drive Acres Section 1 HOA, describes neighborhood flooding Sunday afternoon.
In tale of two cities, parts of Houston survived untouched, while others begin flood cleanup
Matt Pearce, Hailey Branson-Potts and Anna M. Phillips
Los Angeles Times, Sept. 3, 2017
A week after Hurricane Harvey lashed Texas with record rainfall, President Trump returned to the Lone Star State, as storm survivors began to return to their neighborhoods and stark divisions between those who lost everything to the floodwaters and those who escaped relatively unscathed were on display.
Parts of west Houston were still reeling on Saturday. In residential neighborhoods near the Addicks Reservoir, which overflowed during the storm, residents relied on boats including canoes and kayaks to run errands and commute to work. Some had power; some didn’t. Some of the single- and two-story brick homes remained swamped with several feet of fetid water; others were dry.
“It’s a tale of two cities right now,” said Pete Carragher, 64, a geologist who returned home by canoe with his son-in-law, who lives nearby, to check on their houses and fetch supplies.
“You go a mile north and you would never know anything had happened, apart from the extra lines at the gas stations and the few shops being shut,” Carragher said. He stood in knee-deep water, dressed in waders and boots. “It’s just if you’re in this floodplain areas here, it’s devastating.”
Inside Amar Gowda’s upscale brick-and-stone home, which had about a foot of water, men in white hazardous materials suits and masks stripped soggy hardwood planks from the floor, tossing them into a pile with a clatter.
To Gowda, a 33-year-old software architect, the historic hurricane may have been an act of God, but the flooding in his neighborhood was not. When he bought the home, he said he was told he was not in a flood zone, and so he doesn’t have federal flood insurance to cover the losses.
He blamed “poor planning” by the subdivision’s developers, and blamed local officials for not bringing in more water pumps sooner. Now he and his neighbors are considering a class-action lawsuit.
Asked about Trump, neighbor Jay Parekh, 40, replied, “We are not interested in what he’s doing right now. Nobody here has flood insurance.”
One of the neighbors who does have flood insurance was Judy Wong, a 66-year-old retiree. When she briefly got emotional during an interview, it wasn’t when she spoke about Trump, but about her homeowners’ association.
“I feel like they’ve done everything they can,” Wong said of Trump and the federal government. But in her neighborhood, she said, “The pumps were not adequate.”
Wiped-out properties are due to be taxed as if still standing (Opinion)
Jennifer Shaw, Rockport Published 10:00 a.m. CT Sept. 5, 2017
As a result of Hurricane Harvey, Rockport’s mayor released a statement that approximately 30 percent of the community’s housing was destroyed, 30 percent to 40 percent was so badly damaged it was not salvageable, and only 30 percent to 40 percent was habitable.
Similar or even greater percentages of housing stock destroyed by Hurricane Harvey exist for Port Aransas and Mustang Island in Nueces County. A significant portion of the housing stock in San Patricio County has also been destroyed or damaged so severely that it is uninhabitable.
Flood debris continues to pile up in western Harris County
By Anoushah Rasta – Anchor/Reporter, Click2 Houston (KPRC2)
Posted: 6:34 PM, September 15, 2017
Updated: 6:52 PM, September 15, 2017
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – It is a scene that we’re seeing all over the Houston-area: piles of debris lining the streets in many neighborhoods.
“This is home and you’ve lost everything,” said Judy Martinez, a resident of the Villages of Bear Creek.
There isn’t much you can say to the residents of the Villages of Bear Creek to take their minds off the mountains of debris in their neighborhood.
“To see it like this, it tears you up,” said Martinez. “We were sitting in sewer water for days.”
Harvey’s waters are gone now but the trash sits in its place. Martinez is a member of the community’s self-managed homeowners association.
Martinez, her colleagues and the other residents are asking for more help to come into the neighborhood and remove the debris, potentially harmful to their health.
“There’s rats, there’s snakes, there’s mosquitos, there’s ants, there’s the stench,” Martinez said. “It’s not safe.”
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