La Marque residents may have had some surprising visitors Saturday: members of the Clean City Commission knocking on doors to determine what kind of damage Hurricane Harvey wreaked on the community.
About two dozen commission members, council members and volunteers from the city and elsewhere fanned out Saturday morning across La Marque to assess damage at homes.
The information collected will be turned over to the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to show the scope of Harvey’s effect on the area.
“Especially as a small community, it’s important we convey our damages early so we’re not forgotten,” Clean City committee Chairman Joe Compian said.
Early estimates soon after Hurricane Harvey dumped huge amounts of rain on the region, swelling creeks and other waterways and causing flooding at thousands of homes in Galveston County, put the flooding in the city at between 100 and 200 homes. But those numbers could climb as surveys continue, Compian said.
The early impact study conducted Saturday was meant to identify hard-hit parts of town and connect with residents who may need assistance applying for aid or other help, Compian said.
Jennifer and Tony Galavez have lived in their La Marque home for about 30 years and had never experienced flooding, they said. Theirs was one of many households volunteers visited Saturday.
Several inches of water flooded their home. On Aug. 27, heavy rains swamped the yard and crept into the house, causing what the couple estimated could be about $25,000 of damage, not including loss of contents.
“We never had a drop, so we didn’t get flood insurance — we weren’t required,” Jennifer Galavez said.
Without flood insurance, the Galavez family applied for a FEMA grant and were approved for about $4,400 — an amount determined the day after the inspection, they said.
“What they offered won’t do anything,” Tony Galavez said. “We can’t get anybody to fix it until we have money and can’t afford it.”
The couple has been staying in a hotel in La Marque and wonders what to do in two weeks when the voucher ends, they said. They’re worried it won’t be safe to stay in their home because of mold, they said.
Without more financial assistance, the couple would begin rebuilding piece by piece, they said.
“I guess we’ll do it one room at a time — we’ll do it ourselves,” Jennifer Galavez said.
In low-lying parts of old La Marque and the subdivision Painted Meadows, debris lined some curbs.
The city’s contracted debris collector, CrowderGulf, began clearing and collecting discarded items in Painted Meadows on Saturday, said Charlene Warren, the city’s emergency management officer. The company would continue making sweeps through the county as long as it was necessary, Warren said.
The city wants to identify more La Marque residents who had flooding and damage from Harvey and planned to launch a website this week with an online survey, Warren said.