HOUSTON — More than two years of living in a motel are about to come to an end for a Houston mother who lost her home in Hurricane Harvey.
Returning to the house was her husband’s dream. His death made it her mission. Strangers plan to make it happen.
Redonna Miller’s home is where her heart broke. Harvey wrecked it.
Contractors made things worse.
Now, strangers are close to fixing all but one critical piece.
“Please understand that (my husband) had a very weak heart,” Miller said.
Bobby Williams emptied his savings account to buy his wife the house with a white iron fence in Kashmere Gardens. Two-feet of floodwater from the hurricane barged inside their home and changed everything.
“It was scary because we didn’t know when it was going to stop,” Miller said.
Miller and Williams were disabled and unable to work. Williams' bad heart and Miller's crippling arthritis kept them home waiting four days for rescue during the storm. That wait felt like nothing compared to what happened next with repairs, Miller said.
“Permits were needed and that’s where it all started falling apart,” Miller said.
She said at least three groups either took FEMA money or promised free help to fix the couple’s damage.
In each case, the help vanished when things got tough. Inspections failed. The house needed a new foundation. The sewer line also needed to be replaced, Miller said.
Nineteen months later, Williams’ heart stopped beating. His dream of going home died too, or so his wife thought.
“For the first time, I saw progress,” Miller said. “It was actually people working.”
“If I were to close my eyes, of course, my husband would be there with me in my heart,” she said.
It is not quite her dream, but living her husband’s is the only gift able to soothe her broken heart.
“I am very grateful,” Miller said.