HOUSTON-- Roughly 200 elderly and disabled residents are now packing their bags after city authorities said their senior living facility is unsafe to live in, nearly a month after Hurricane Harvey hit.
The Houston Housing Authorities said the facility is facing issues with its electrical and fire safety systems and nearly half of the building may have mold. The building's first floor and basement was apparently flooded with several feet of water. Authorities said some of the units, particularly those facing the bayou, were also penetrated with rain water and suffered roof leaks.
"It's a dangerous situation where we know we need to replace these systems. In order to make these repairs or rebuild, we need to evacuate all 188 households to do that," HHA President and CEO Tory Gunsolley said.
For many of these senior citizens, 2100 Memorial Apartments was a place for them to enjoy retirement and stay permanently.
"I moved here thinking that this was going to be my retirement home. I retired in 2015 and I have family that I could live with, but I want my own place," Frances Lampkin said.
"I'm angry. I don't feel like moving one bit. I love it here," Rosemary Sharp said.
"I also don't think it's right. They shouldn't wait three or four weeks to tear out these walls. They should've did that right after the flooding went down," Sharp continued.
Residents said they received an evacuation notice on their doors earlier this week, instructing them to leave by Saturday afternoon. They said the 5-day evacuation notice has them scrambling for last-minute housing options.
"I need a place to stay. I don't have enough money to make this move," Reginald Smith said.
"They all have to be out by Saturday. They're handicapped, elderly, low-income. It's impossible," Courtney Ward said.
HHA authorities said the renovation process could take six to nine months to complete, without the guarantee that residents will be able to move back.
"Once we get all the funding and insurance claims sorted out, we will be able to determine whether we're allowed to repair or whether we'll be required to rebuild," Gunsolley said.
"We understand that losing one's home is a painful process, and we are working to ensure our residents can quickly and safely recover. During this time, we will have FEMA on-site to register residents and have property management representatives available to respond to questions," Gunsolley said.
As for where these elderly folks will go, city authorities said keep calm and don't worry. They've got more supply than demand.
"We've identified more units than there are people. We are confident they will find a place. And we'll keep helping them," Gunsolley said.