KINGWOOD, Texas (FOX 26) - A neighborhood in Kingwood, plagued by looters and illegal trash dumpers after their homes were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, are now dealing with a new issue. The City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods has slapped the residents with violating a trash ordinance. The problem is that the trash is a result of looters, vandals, and people using the abandoned neighborhood for dumping.
We received a message from a concerned resident about the violations. When we arrived we saw the violations out there, but also caught HPD in the middle of arresting looters, in broad daylight, who were inside one of the homes.
Homeowner Jon Manning went back to his neighborhood when he heard about the violations. That's when he found looters inside his home.
“I was on the phone with the city then I told her 'they’re here'. So I grab my other phone to call the police and they came right away,” Manning said.
Houston police were on the scene quickly, arresting four individuals who will face charges.
This is what the last six months has been for the residents of the River View Townhomes -- having to abandon their homes, then feeling hopeless when, like vultures, looters come to pick at each of their homes.
“They’ve taken the ACs off of the second unit, they’ve taken the ACs off the roof, they’ve come into our homes go into our attics taking our furnaces, taking her light fixtures. It’s endless!” says Manning.
A town hall meeting was held for the residents. The homeowner’s association telling them they are currently in the first round of a buyout from the state, and that they are trying to have the trash violations addressed. Finally, some good news, but the residents are hoping to get answers quickly.
“We already lost everything that we own, then the little things we have left they're vandalizing it. We can’t live here, but you got to pay to be here. We gotta find homes. Most of us are still in hotels. I just got a place to live. I was on couches. Right! So were a lot of other people. Our families are separated. So can we get some light at the end of the tunnel? Can we get some love?” said Manning.
While no exact timeline was given to the residents, the homeowners association said they need to have all their buyout paperwork in before August 26, which marks one year since Hurricane Harvey.