Representatives from construction companies met with city officials Wednesday afternoon to discuss ways to expedite federal home-elevation grants for homes that perpetually flood.
The grants are available to homeowners living in all areas, however all 42 of the 2015 grants were awarded to residents of Meyerland.
Only 10 of those grants had made it to completion by the arrival of Hurricane Harvey. The 32 remaining homes awaiting to be raised were flooded and damaged.
One of those homeowners says he still considers himself lucky.
“I feel very fortunate. If we weren’t a recipient of the grant,” said life-long Meyerland resident, Chris Bisel. “I don’t know what we’d be doing right now. So it’s kind of our hope at the rainbow that it’s coming and we know it’s coming. It makes it a little bit easier to take.”
Bisel’s home received 55 inches of rain during the Hurricane Harvey flooding. He was also flooded in 2015’s Tax Day and Memorial Day floods. He was awarded the home-elevation grant that same year.
“Not only does it help the homeowners, but it saves the federal government money,” Bisel said. “It keeps the neighborhoods together and they don’t fall apart or have holes in them like when there are buyouts.”
The average grant amount to those residents in Meyerland was $350,000 in 2015 for home elevation, Bisel said.
Some residents who are choosing to stay in Meyerland and keep their homes are paying for home-elevation construction costs privately.
The Kemah-based home-elevation construction company Arkitektura, has already finished several projects in the Meyerland area, including the home of the Anders family.
Erin Anders and her husband purchased and updated a mid-century home three years ago. It flooded only weeks after they moved in; then it flooded again.
Arkitektura raised the Anders’ home during a three-month period from the foundation, in one single piece.
Although it destroyed one of the Anders’ car, the floodwaters never entered the family’s home during Harvey.
“We were freaking out,” Anders said. “We were blowing up pool floats, planning our escape.”
Anders said it was nice to be able to help out her neighbors who had been flooded instead of her family for a change, and she is glad she made the decision to raise the home.
“My husband told me through the whole process we shouldn’t have spent the money on this, it was a bad decision,” Anders said. “And then on the weekend, we saw all the rain coming up. He said, ‘You will never hear me say that again.'”