At Lawrence and Jacqueline Hester’s home in Kashmere Gardens in Houston, visitors wear face masks for protection. With at least half of the house full of mold, the family lived in the front three rooms for more than two years — until December, when the local nonprofit West Street Recovery moved them to an apartment in Midtown.
During Hurricane Harvey, the storm seriously damaged their roof, causing the ceiling to collapse in their daughter’s bedroom.
Other rooms had significant damage, too, including the bathroom and kitchen.
“This was a nice kitchen. I mean before,” Jacqueline Hester says, before gesturing. “You see the walls here? Where the mold has actually set in the floor and the ceiling because water is standing underneath the home.”
It’s where the extended family celebrates holidays, she says, and her husband has lived in the house his entire life, for 59 years. His parents bought the home when he was born. The home never flooded until Harvey, Hester said.
Two-and-a-half years after Hurricane Harvey, many homeowners like the Hesters are still dealing with mold, warped floorboards and electrical problems. Frustrated with the City of Houston and its efforts to distribute federal recovery funding, they’re organizing themselves as the Harvey Forgotten Survivors Caucus.