It’s been two years since Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast and I don’t have to remind you about all the devastation.
24 months after the storm I thought Houston would be in a lot better shape.
On last Friday I was riding through the Third Ward and I was shocked at the number of homes still covered with blue tarps on the roofs.
Those tarps have been on some houses so long that they’ve become torn and tethered.
That led to my next question: Why haven’t these people received any help from their insurance companies or the government?
I made several calls on Monday. I was shocked and disturbed by some of the answers I got.
Let’s start with Houston City Council Member Wanda Adams. She has been an advocate for those who need help after Ike for at least two years now.
Adams, who immediately got me some answers, says there are still some limited city funds through the Houston Housing Department that can be taken advantage of by residents. However, she says there is a timetable to apply.
Adams also says there are still a lot of people who can’t get help for a long list of reasons. One is the blue tarps are on some of the houses the residents (renters) simply don’t own. In some cases the owner may have received the money and not performed the necessary repairs.
Adams says some also won’t get help if they haven’t paid their taxes on their properties.
The council member says for those who feel they qualify and would like assistance should contact the Housing department with the city of Houston.
I also placed a call to insurance guru Borris Miles. He tells me he has encouraged many of his clients to file a lawsuit against insurance companies.
This comes after individuals who have faithfully paid their premiums for years were rejected after Ike.
Miles says he’s run into a long list of people who were insured but can’t seem to get help from their insurance companies.
Then there’s that Harris County agency that has sat on tens of millions of dollars since last year and has yet to pay out one dime – not one dime…The program director says that’s because the rules and guidelines are very complicated to qualify for Ike assistance.
If you think ‘you’ qualify make sure you contact the city of Houston or take Miles’ advice and file that lawsuit!