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Displaced Harvey Evacuees Seek Refuge in Valley

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MCALLEN – James Nissim and his 90-year-old mother Pearl Ivey are finding refuge in the Rio Grande Valley.

They hail from Katy, Texas, a town of about 15,000 people, just west of Houston. Ivey said they just grabbed what they could.

"We didn't try to save anything," said Ivey. "We just got our car and a few clothes and throw them in sacks and jumped in the car and we were gone."

Nissim tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS a premonition told him to get he and his mother to safety while he could.

"I had like a dream about something," said Nissim. "A catastrophic event was going to happen."

Both said they are living on their Social Security incomes to survive.

They have each other, and a few bags of clothes and toiletries to call their own. Nissim doesn't know the status of his home.

"Other than an email that I got that told me it was bad and not to come back," said Nissim.

FEMA's "Transitional Sheltering Assistance" program helps those seeking temporary shelter find a place to live while they're unable to access their homes.

"I've contacted FEMA and registered and we're waiting for a response as to whether they can help us to relocate to another area," said Nissim.

Displaced evacuees are leaning on FEMA for assistance.

Nissim said he has no other choice but to reach out because their money is running out. Anyone seeking help must register for FEMA disaster assistance, pass identity verification, and confirm their pre-disaster residence is in a TSA designated area.

"And you have to have your house and your primary resident be in an area designated for TSA or be displaced as a result of a disaster," said FEMA Spokeswoman Vanessa Winans. "Which is certainly true for a lot of folks right now in the Houston area."

Right now Nissim and Ivey are relying on their friends for emotional support.

"Thank you Patrick in Houston for your help," said Nissim recounting an emotional conversation with a friend, "I appreciate that very much."

Anyone seeking additional information for temporary housing assistance can find details at the FEMA website below.

https://www.fema.gov/transitional-shelter-assistance

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