Flood damage, mold forces residents from San Marcos public housing

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Mold is a big concern for homes damaged in the Memorial Day weekend flood, which is why the San Marcos Housing Authority has told residents to leave the C.M. Allen Homes along River Road.

Albert Sierra, the director of the housing authority, said 100 homes were damaged during the Memorial Day Weekend floods. He said they recently sent out notices to residents telling them to leave until the units are clean and safe to come back to.

“The hardest part is…trying to convince families that they need to get out, but they have no place to go,” said Sierra, who has been with the housing authority for 30 years. “The biggest question they had was, ‘Where are we going from here?'”

The San Marcos Housing Authority assists the elderly, people with disabilities and low income families.

Sierra said he does not know where many of the residents are because they did not leave information. He said some people are staying with family, while others have taken aid from nonprofits. Some are refusing to leave, he added, because they do not think they have much damage.

“Some of those folks who got very little water they said, ‘I’m OK,’ but no, water seeps under baseboards, it grows into sheet rock and instillation, and you’ll smell it,” said Sierra. “We were not going to by any means evict people just because they said, ‘I’m OK.’ Yes, they were OK because of their personal items, but the building had the damage.”

Sierra said the housing authority has waived June’s rent.

When the flood first happened, Sierra said they had limited resources and are still relying on volunteers to remove sheetrock. Now, he is hoping to get federal assistance.

“[Nonprofits] were offering vouchers for rooms and hotels, and people took advantage of that, but that was limited to how many nights they could stay,” said Sierra. “After the governor declared the state of emergency disaster, within a day or two FEMA was here. That to us was a great relief, that FEMA would be here, and they came and started interviewing people, started getting some relief to their pain…Now, we have to wait for when the vouchers come in.”

We realize this is a difficult time for you and your family and we are working as fast as we can to get the units restored to a safe and sanitary condition. As the days have progressed we continue to receive updated information to be able to better help you. As we get new information we are communicating it with you. We will continue to be updating our website and Facebook pages in an effort to keep you informed. You can also call the Resident Services Office at 512-392-6273 or just stop by to ask questions.

Due to the damages from the flood and the health concerns that it has caused, all C.M. Allen residents are required to move out.  All residents are potentially eligible for FEMA assistance due to the necessity to make repairs to the units. We urge you to apply for FEMA if you have not done so. If you have already applied and were denied assistance, please RE-APPLY as new information concerning the units has come to light.

All of your personal items that are in the unit will need to be removed, so that we can work on the units and restore them. Please give notice at the C.M. Allen office when you vacate, so we know that your unit is empty.

Many of you have asked how long it will take to repair the units. We wish we could give you an exact time frame, but there are just too many variables to consider. Right now we are saying it looks like it could be 6 months or longer depending on the condition of the unit.

Thank you for your patience as our staff works 7 days a week to help you during this crisis. Please stay in communication with us so we know your individual needs and we will do our best to help assist you.

Albert  Sierra

Sierra said people will be able to move back into their homes, but he doesn’t know when.

If you need assistance, call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or go to disasterassistance.gov to apply.

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