PA Housing Authority also rebuilding from Harvey

Published 7:11 pm Friday, February 16, 2018

It’s like starting over for the Port Arthur Housing Authority after Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey hit.

Cele Quesada, executive director of the PAHA, said they lost their affordable housing developments such as at Bellbrook in Port Acres, Valley View on Twin City Highway and Lakeview Palms on Gulfway Drive.

“Bellbrook lost 100 homes. We’re working on rebuilding them. We’re in the initial phase of reopening 26 homes and bringing back 26 families,” he said. “TML (the Texas Municipal League) is our insurer and their contractor is Synergy to help work on the rebuilding.”

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Quesada said many of their families were displaced. Citywide, they’re working with the contractor to bring back 250 families to their homes. Some are staying at relatives’ homes and some are in other cities. PAHA is using a policy called the Choice of First Refusal in which residents get the first choice of the developments before they move on to someone else.

Despite the stereotype, Quesada said the vast majority of their families have jobs — out of 2,578 families on Section 8 assistance only .02 percent do not have an income source.

“The damage (from Harvey) was tremendously worse than Ike,” he said. “For some of our homes that had minimal insurance they had to go through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

“We filed for the expected funding from the federal government and we hope it will close in a short period. Maybe by the end of March we will be back online. When the August funding requests are out we’re hoping to get that,” he said.

Half of the FEMA-provided money is available immediately, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference in Rockport. The rest will come on or before the one-year anniversary of Harvey’s landfall in late August, according to The Texas Tribune.