Texas City woman living with no power for last year since Harvey

Image 1 of 2

Ever since Hurricane Harvey flooded Cecilia Martinez’s Texas City home with a foot of water last year, the 60-year-old has been living in dire conditions.

Inside her house, mold is growing on the ceiling and the walls, and there are patches of plywood covering holes where parts of her floor have caved in. 

Cindy Martinez is a representative with Galveston County Recovers, a group working to help thousands of people like Cecilia who are still struggling to bounce back after Harvey. Martinez was translating for Cecilia, who only speaks Spanish. 

"There’s some mold in the restroom up there in that area, on the ceiling. She said she had huge rodents coming into her home and thankfully, she had a neighbor come and exterminate her home," Martinez said. 

Martinez said Cecilia's been living in the home with no power for the last year. 

With only one functioning outlet, Martinez said Cecilia's been powering everything inside her home including her refrigerator, bedroom AC unit and space heater through an extension cord.

Despite her living conditions, at one point, Cecilia took in four family members who needed help.

"When she took her granddaughter and great grandchildren in, they were all living in one bedroom. As you can see it’s a small space to fit five people," Martinez said. 

Cecilia said FEMA denied her first application for help. Her friends and other contractors that jumped in to help her rebuild right after the storm, eventually stopped showing up.

"She has no one else to stay with, she said. No family or friends," Martinez said. 

Although a year has passed by, her house is still unfixed and her living conditions- unchanged. Cecilia said she's scared and lonely, and feels like her disaster story’s been forgotten. 

"She's going to try and appeal one more time, but if for some reason they deny her, she wants to apply for the CDBG program- which is a grant to help her rebuild her home," Martinez said. 

"This home is all she's had, all she’s ever worked for. She's raised her children and grandchildren here so this house is very important to her, very valuable. It's her home and she doesn't want to lose it," Martinez said. 

The Galveston County Recovers group is working to help thousands of other people still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. To volunteer or help, click here.