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Rockport residents still recovering from Hurricane Harvey

Posted: 5:48 AM, Feb 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-22 13:16:57-05

It’s been a year and a half since Hurricane Harvey hit, but for some families, the storm is not over.

That includes single mother of three Jamie Leal, who lives in Rockport.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Jamie Leal, like more than 70,000 other Texans displaced by Harvey, would have to find a new place for her and her three kids to live. The only problem was, she couldn’t afford to move. The past year and a half has been a nightmare for Leal and her family.

“I didn’t think nothing was going to happen; I didn’t know what I was going to do. My trailer didn’t have windows, I had a hole in my roof, I had no lights inside. I was devastated,” said Hurricane Harvey victim Jamie Leal.

Rockport has made progress recuperating from the devastating storm, but many low-income residents have had a much harder time.

“You drive down the main roads, most people have recovered. But go down some of the back roads in the country where you have older people who don’t know how to reach out and find funding; those are the people we are trying to reach now. The people whose homes have been destroyed, and they have nowhere else to turn,” said Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group Case Manager Sheryl Alexander.

“I am so grateful to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it; I can feel it. It is wonderful,” said Leal.

With help from organizations like the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group, Palm Harbor Homes, and faith-based leaders, the Leal’s heavily damaged mobile home will be destroyed, and the family will receive a new one.

“They are going to put in city sewer and water for me, and they are going to bring me a new trailer.  And then they are going to furnish the trailer, stock the trailer with food, bed linens, towels, silverware. They are going to give me everything,” said Leal.

“When you are able to help someone who’s home was totally destroyed and get them something brand new and feel safe and secure in, that’s an incredible feeling,” said Alexander.

Their new mortgage-free home is expected to be move-in ready in the next few weeks.

Many residents in the Rockport and surrounding areas have not struggled in isolation. They have been assisted in the past year by officials and volunteers, but their repairs and recovery have been a very slow process.