SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – Almost two years after a historic flood destroyed hundreds of homes in central Texas, one family is finally able to return home.
“It’s a blessing, I can’t describe the feeling. There’s just no place like home,” said San Marcos Resident Brenda Polanco.
Polanco lives in a neighborhood just east of I-35 in San Marcos. She says everything in her home was destroyed during the Memorial Day flood in 2015.
“There was 18 inches that got inside the house and by the time we got to come back, there was already mold growing up the walls, the sheetrock was warped and the floor boards had started to warp,” said Polanco. “It’s just something that you don’t expect because in the past years water has never come into the house, and this time water got inside the house.”
Since the flood, a number of non-profit organizations have been helping the family rebuild their home so they could return. The Blanco River Regional Recovery Team (BR3T) has been working closely with Polanco, using only volunteers and donations to make her home livable.
“They call it long-term recovery because it does take a long time when you are using volunteers and donations to do the work,” said BR3T Executive Director Thomas Monahan. “It’s basically a brand new house on the inside.”
Along with a long list of volunteers, BR3T raised Polanco’s home four feet off the ground in hopes that no water ever gets in during a flood again. “This just used to be two steps, now it’s a whole bunch of steps,” said Polanco.
Volunteers also built the family a long ramp wrapping around the home for Polanco’s elderly mother. “I was like ‘oh my God, that’s a beautiful ramp,’ and they built it and my mom can walk up and hold onto both sides if she didn’t have her walker,” said Polanco.
For almost two years, Polanco says her family has been staying with friends, relatives and anyone else who offered to take them in. Having the keys to her new home is the first time in a long time that she has been stress free. “It took a process, but we’re home,” she said.
BR3T said they still have almost 300 homes to repair since that flood. The organization is always looking for new volunteers and donations. To see how you can help, visit their website.
The Memorial Day weekend floods of 2015 were one of the costliest natural disasters in our area when it comes to money and lives. A dozen people lost their lives that weekend, many in one Wimberley home that washed downstream. The bodies of two children were never found.
Across the state that weekend, the Insurance Council of Texas says more than $400,000,000 in claims were made including claims on 20,000 vehicles.
KXAN’s Lauren Lanmon has more on the family’s recovery story tonight on KXAN News at 10.