Coastal Bend Area Still in Need of Hurricane Relief

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FULTON – The areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey when the storm made landfall more than two months ago are still not receiving the help they deserve.

Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick isn’t sure how many people in his town are still homeless, but he said any number is too high.

“We’ve got to check homes, we’ve got to check for people, we need housing, we need food,” said Kendrick the day after the storm.

Fast forward to present day.

“I’m sitting here at my house sleeping on the floor of my living room behind by chair because that part of my house is still air conditioned and if I sleep in the other part and it rains, I’ll get wet,” said the mayor in a phone interview Monday with CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

He said not much has changed.

The mayor is one of the many citizens in the Fulton-Rockport-Port Aransas area who still haven’t received funds to rebuild.

Kendrick said people are struggling to reapply for denied FEMA claims, deal with denied insurance claims, finding contractors in a time where there aren’t many trustworthy ones; all while not having a safe place to sleep.

He said it’s hard on him as a city leader, because he can’t do much to help.

“Our hands are tied. We've got so many rules to go by. You know if we give money to somebody who is part of FEMA, who is supposed to get money from FEMA, if we give them a handout, it may cost them big money from FEMA from the little bit of money we give them,” explained Kendrick.

He's proud of initial search and rescue response to the hurricane, but not so much about the long-term relief.

"My restaurant people, my hotel people tell me they can't get employees. Their employees don't have places to live because they were renting properties. There's no rent properties," said the mayor.

Kendrick said many in the Coastal Bend are running out of hope that things will ever return to normal.

The mayor said the people in town are still dealing with shady contractors taking advantage of the storm damage.

He hopes the federal and state governments use Hurricane Harvey to rework how future disaster recovery effort are handled.


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