Families still struggle to rebuild homes after Memorial Day floods

The locks on a Taylor family's home no longer work after the house was flooded Memorial Day weekend.

TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — A lot of us here in flash flood alley know how devastating flood waters can be, especially when you’re trying to clean up. Now, four months after the Memorial Day floods destroyed so many homes, some families are still trying to get help rebuilding.

The first thing you may see when you glance at this Taylor home, is the family on the porch. But look a little closer, and you’ll notice the house appears to be caving in. Howard Ross, Jr. says it’s from floodwaters.

“The house felt like it was going to float away, but the house, it just tweaked, twisted,” says Howard.

Howard says you can see the shift in one of the railings, but that’s just the beginning of their problems. This family says none of the locks work anymore since this house shifted, so they’re putting chairs up against this door to keep it secure.

Pipes are still leaking, electrical wires are exposed, and there are holes in the wall. However, Ross says the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA, won’t help them, stating insufficient damage. Howard says they even got repair estimates for tens of thousands of dollars.

“If a contractor, a licensed and bonded contractor comes out here and says you’ve got $31,000 damage done to this house, and (FEMA is) still denying us, there’s something wrong there,” says Howard.

FEMA says they provide basic help to people whose homes are considered unlivable or unsafe.

“They’re just saying that because they don’t have to sleep in this house at night,” says Howard.

FEMA says if you get a denial letter, it’s not a final decision. You can appeal and get another inspection. If you have questions about an appeal, call 1-800-621-3362.

The problem for Howard is, he says he’s already tried that and still can’t get help. For now, he’s stuck with cracked walls, torn up floors and an unstable path ahead.

FEMA says the most they can give out to a household this year, is $32,400. So far, they’ve given out $1.1 million in Williamson County. FEMA also has frequently asked questions about who is eligible for assistance.

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