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Katy residents still rebuilding a year after Hurricane Harvey

There are many residents who are still scrounging to pay their mortgages, even though they're not even back in their homes yet because of the cost to make repairs.

KATY, Texas - In the year since Hurricane Harvey, many in Katy have asked what the city has learned and how it can do better, if another mega-storm hits.

Residents want improvements when it comes to infrastructure and drainage.

Officials at a press conference at Katy City Hall on Monday promised those improvements will happen sooner rather than later.

There are many residents who are still scrounging to pay their mortgages, even though they’re not even back in their homes yet because of the cost to make repairs.

Resident Beatriz Escobar of Bartlett Street clearly recalls the storm. “It just rained and rained and rained.” she remembered.

She says she could hardly believe what she was seeing, when Harvey flooded her home.

“Everything got wet. We just had to take everything to the curb.” she said.

Escobar says she doesn’t have flood insurance because she was told her house isn’t in a flood zone.

One year later, her family is still re-building. However, they feel they’re among the lucky ones. They received help from FEMA and their church.

At the press conference, local officials vowed to make improving infrastructure a top priority.

Congressman Michael McCaul says that building a third reservoir in the area is imperative.

The goal, he says, is for that reservoir study to be completed within a year.

“The Mayor and I referred to the 1940 map, where the Army was looking, when it built Barker and Addicks reservoir to actually build a third reservoir in the Cypress-Katy area. Unfortunately, that wasn’t done. The good news is it’s going to get done.” he said.

Katy Mayor Chuck Brawner says the city has purchased new emergency vehicles and a water rescue boat so that it doesn’t have to rely on the National Guard in the event of natural disasters.

Residents such as Jo Dowling, who lives on Blue Bonnet Street, hopes first responders never have to use them.

After Harvey, she spent months in a hotel and is still assessing what she’s lost, includeing a priceless antiques collection.

“It’s been horrible. I’ll be 90 in October, and at my age it’s no fun,” said Dowling.

Credit: KHOU 11
Jo Dowling

Congress has approved $140 billion dollars for hurricane recovery for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Congressman McCaul states that 12 and a half billion is for Texas’s Army Corps of Engineer projects. He says there’s a provision that allows the Army Corps to work with private contractors which is something that he is advocating.

Congressman McCaul says he believes that will only expedite the study and the building of the third reservoir.

For more on Hurricane Harvey One Year Later, click here.