HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Eight years have passed since Hurricane Ike, but many people in the Houston area are still living with blue tarps on their roofs.
An initiative by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's office, unofficially known as the Blue Tarp Program, has allocated $2 million city dollars to fix the roofs, at least 200 of them by the end of 2016.
One homeowner in the historic Sunnyside neighborhood, who did not want to be identified by FOX 26 News, says everything changed when Hurricane Ike struck in 2008. His house has no air conditioning, electricity or running water. He has to use a container to clean his body. He says he is thankful, even though his roof needs repairs, to still have it over his head. He has applied for the Blue Tarp Program. He should know soon whether or not his roof has been selected for repair.
Homeowners that earn 120 percent less of the area median income can qualify for the Blue Tarp Program. To apply for the program, visit the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department website, http://www.houstontx.gov/housing/.
"While the program aids households earning up to 120 percent of area medium income, we are finding that most of these homeowners are far below that, around 50 percent," said HCDD interim director Tom McCasland. "They have waited a long time for help, and we don't want them waiting any longer. For most of them, it will be no more than two weeks from our first visit to pulling nails on the roof."
According to the Housing and Community Development Program, all roof repairs for qualifying homes will be completed by December 31, 2016.
To complete the roof repairs, the City of Houston is contracting with Rebuilding Together Houston, a non-profit agency that has been providing home repair services since 1982. HCDD is qualifying the homeowners and Rebuilding Together Houston is providing the professional labor to complete the repairs.