Great-grandmother in Houston struggling in home damaged by Hurricane Harvey 5 years ago

Five years after Hurricane Harvey, some people in Houston are still struggling to rebuild.

On Wednesday, we met 78-year-old Dorothy Diggs at her home off Bay Cedar Drive. Diggs has lived there for about 35 years and says Harvey destroyed everything.

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"Water was in here too," said Diggs. "The carpet soaked it up and that’s mold. I take a bath in this plastic tub right here. The drainage is all messed up now."

Diggs showed us several rooms in her home that are now growing mold because of water damage. According to Diggs, the plumbing in the bathroom doesn’t work, and she has to use a temporary toilet when going to the bathroom.

"My daughter bought [this] commode here," said Diggs. "You can’t do number two in this one anymore, it won’t flush. So, she uses this and puts it in the trash."

Dorothy tells us she doesn’t have insurance or the necessary money to move. Following Harvey, she says she submitted paperwork through the city for help, but continues to wait for the assistance.

"The earliest I was approved was 2018," said Diggs. "They’ve been putting me off ever since."

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Harris County and the city of Houston received more than $1 billion of federal funds to help homeowners rebuild after Harvey. However, because of a poor relationship between the state and city government, some of that money hasn’t been given out.

"The people who need the reimbursements, their homes repaired, they’re the ones who suffer," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.


The 78-year-old great-grandmother says she’s trying to stay patient. However, she has boxes packed and is ready to move whenever she receives the call.

"I’m just waiting," said Diggs. "I have more packing to do, but once they give me the go ahead, I’ll be ready. I don’t have a choice [except to wait]. I don’t have money."

According to a spokesperson from the city of Houston, they fixed Dorothy's roof in 2017 as part of the Blue Tarp program. Since then, her file has been transferred to the Texas General Land Office and remains in their hands.