About 15 families from the Spring Oaks apartment complex called a Comfort Inn and Suites home more than a month after the flood. But the money for hotel rooms is running out.
Lisa Gager spent the past month in a small hotel room on the fourth floor of the hotel. The city of Balch Springs paid for the first week at the hotel. Sharing Life paid for the second. Then Catholic Charities paid for 30 days.
“After that, nobody has any more funding,” Gager said.
Gager’s Spring Oaks apartment flooded in August. She remembers waking up in the dark early that morning to hysterical screaming. She thought there was a domestic dispute. Turns out, it was because of the ankle-deep flood waters seeping into people’s first-floor apartments.
Gager said she and her family spent 12 hours sweeping water out of her apartment with brooms.
“Our backs were hurting,” she said. “We had blisters on our hands from holding the brooms for so long.”
Gager and her family moved out of their apartment about a week after the flood so it could be repaired. Gager’s last day at the hotel was Friday. She said her apartment won’t be repaired until March or April, so Gager and her family are living with her mother for now.
The hotel room they moved into at the Comfort Inn and Suites was small — the two queen beds covered in fluffy white duvets took up most of the space. And there was a constant hum from the air conditioner.
Gager had shared that room with her disabled 41-year-old nephew and his dad, who has survived two heart attacks and four strokes. Her 21-year-old son, who’s autistic and has intellectual disabilities, stayed with a friend from church because he didn’t want to share a bed with his mother. It’s the first time they’ve ever lived apart.
Gager doesn’t know when her apartment at Springs Oaks will be habitable again. She could break her lease without penalty and move somewhere else, but her family can’t afford to do that.
“Everything that I’ve already checked into is over like $2,000 or more a month, and we’re all on fixed income,” she said.
Gager relies on disability payments because of a back injury. She’s not the only former Spring Oaks resident on a fixed income. Noemi Flores also relies on disability payments. She has fibromyalgia and heart failure. Doctors recently put a stent in her leg. She’s also supposed to have surgery on her spine. The doctors say Flores could be paralyzed if she waits much longer.