Inside a big tent in southeast Austin, is FEMA’s multi-agency resource center for the Austin area.
There, advocates and government agency representatives are providing flood victims with a single location to help reclaim their lives. "Can we get you back to where you were, no, that’s why our partner is the small business administration,” said Rita Egan with FEMA.
Austin is one of nine resource centers set up by FEMA.
They’re placed along the path taken by Hurricane Harvey. ( Addresses are listed below )
Each site offers a face-to-face meeting with providers. Services include; where to get legal advice, how to apply for disaster unemployment benefits, find a job and something few think about when seeking higher ground; where is your mail?
It’s a good question considering the unofficial post office motto doesn't include floods.
"We've tried to make it as simple as possible, to make sure people are not being hung up, cause we know if you don’t have the income to take care of things it’s hard to get started again,” said Tiffany Daniels with Workforce Solutions.
Stephanie Myers and her daughter evacuated to Austin after being forced from their apartment in Orange County. "It’s just like, I was brushing my teeth and looked in the mirror, and it hit me, like, oh my god I've kind of lost everything, I've got to start my life over,” said Myers.
A few days ago, they tried to get back and salvage what they could. But as these pictures show - their home at the time was still surrounded by water and there was no safe way to get in.
After returning to Austin, at the resource center, despair became hope.
"So, I literally got every single thing I had on my list that I needed, I got done yesterday,” said Myers.
The center has even set up a place for evacuees to wash their clothes; it’s a small but very important step in sustaining this recovery. According to FEMA, almost 640,000 applications for assistance have been made.
So far, almost $200 million in aid has been approved for pay out in Texas. "Sometimes it’s part of life, having to rebuild. Sometimes you have to start over to get better things, ahead,” said Clyde Bills, II
Bills and his fiancé Leslie Hudson were among the 200 people still living in the Austin shelter Thursday, next to the new resource center. They admit their journey forward will not be easy but say, right now, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. "We've got the necessities to start out with, the main things, we are not going back home empty handed and that’s makes a big difference,” said Hudson.
But for every success story of relief, there are many others who are waiting for help. Still uncertain about how they will ever be able to recover from the storm.
Multi-Agency Resource Centers
- Austin 7000 Metroplis Dr
- Calhoun County 200 W. Maham St, Port Lavaca
- Colorado County 305 Radio Ln , Columbus
- Fayette County 653 E. Pearl St., La Grange
- Jackson County 1303 W. Gayle St., Edna
- Victoria County 2805 N. Navarro, Victoria
- Harris County 1001 Avenida de las Americans, Houston
- Goliad 925 S. Hwy 183
- Missouri City 5855 Sienna Springs Way