Adrienne Bickham just wants to be home.

Like many others in League City, Bickham’s home flooded when Hurricane Harvey struck the region in August 2017, dropping more than 50 inches of rain on some parts of the county.

But a series of twists and turns in the months after the storm leave Bickham still waiting on the necessary repairs to move back into her home in the Bayridge neighborhood, she said.

“You reach a point where you’re just numb to it,” Bickham said. “You just feel like you’re never going to get to go home. I’m staying with my mother right now, and I’m more fortunate than many to have a place to stay.

“My mom enjoys me staying with her, but I want to go home.”

Bickham is not alone. City officials estimate more than 8,000 homes in League City flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

While residents like Bickham are evidence that at least some of those homeowners still aren’t back where they were before the storm, the city doesn’t have an estimate of how many people are still affected, said Sarah Greer Osborne, spokeswoman for the city.

In the months since the storm, the city has received almost 100 permits from residents seeking to repair flood damage, many of whom have stated aims to upgrade parts of their homes, records show. But only residents in need of more substantial repairs would need to apply for permits, Greer Osborne said.

“Most people didn’t apply for permits,” said Marika Fuller, a resident of the particularly hard-hit Bayridge neighborhood. “And generally speaking, interior work doesn’t need permits — sheet rock, paint, etcetera.”

Since the storm, Fuller has worked with her neighbors to raise awareness of how many people are still dealing with the aftereffects of the storm.

A family with a World War II veteran, for instance, just got back in its home, Bickham said.

For Bickham, personally, a series of bad turns has conspired to keep her out of her home until now, she said.

Shortly after the storm, Bickham received an insurance payout and hired a contractor to complete work after more than a foot of rain came into the garage and another 6 inches into the house, she said.

But the contractor took the money and ran, after completing only a small part of the work, and Bickham has since had to save her money and rely on part-time contractors to make steady progress on the home, she said.

“Every penny counts,” Bickham said.

Bickham was hoping she might be back home by the end of the month, but now thinks it might be the end of May before she’s back home, she said.

How many other League City residents might be in a similar position is unclear. Yvonne Tibai, a member of the city’s parks board, for instance, said she knew of at least three families that were still out of their homes as of April.

The state’s land office only in early December began accepting applications for its Homeowner Assistance Program, funded by $258 million in federal disaster recovery block grants, to rebuild or rehabilitate Harvey-damaged houses for homeowners that meet certain qualifications, such as being owned by low- or middle-level income people.

Officials with the land office just this month were in Galveston County to celebrate a rebuilt home in La Marque and said applications were still open for assistance.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com


(1) comment

PS Robbins

After Ms Bickham received an insurance payout and hired a contractor to complete work only to have him abscond with her money did she file police report? Why didn’t the writer name said contractor so others can be aware?

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