How to find affordable housing after Harvey

Thousands are now out of shelters after Harvey, presenting them with the new challenge of finding a new place to live.

HOUSTON - Thousands are now out of shelters after Harvey, presenting them with the new challenge of finding a new place to live.

It’s the same challenge faced by thousands of flood victims who are staying with friends or even in their damaged apartments and homes.

Trichelle’s story isn’t just the story of one woman in one North Houston apartment complex, but one of thousands of other devastated families across the Gulf Coast.

“From the bottom of this tree to halfway up,” said the Greenspoint resident on Thursday, when asked how high the water got into her apartment. “Anything that was on the floor, gone.”

Even though the water has gone away, Trichelle’s worries have not. She is staying under a friend’s roof for now but still trying to find four walls to call her own.

“Hectic,” she replied when asked about the process. “It is what it is.”

“One of the things about this storm, it was an equal opportunity destroyer,” said Andy Teas, Vice President of Public Affairs with the Houston Apartment Association. “Apartments at every price point were affected.”

Teas says tenants who were victims are now competing with thousands of displaced homeowners and out-of-town repair crews for whatever’s left over.

“There is enough supply right now to meet the demand, in our opinion,” he said.

Around 70,000 vacant units were available around Houston before the storm. Teas admits the area still needs more affordable housing, but says there is hope.

“Just keep looking,” Teas said. “Some parts of town were hit harder than others, and as much as you want to try and stay in the same neighborhood you were before, you may have to go to a slightly different location. The supply is there. Getting the right supply in the right places is gonna be the hard part.”

So how do you find it? Teas recommends the Texas Apartment Association’s website, where apartment hunters can use a portal to narrow their search by price range, location, and number of bedrooms, all using real-time data.

Teas says people lacking Internet access can call 3-1-1 if they live inside Houston city limits and 2-1-1 if they live outside the city. Call takers with both help lines can connect flood victims to housing and other resources.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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