ROCKPORT, Texas (Nexstar) — Hours away from the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, the reminder of that devastating storm is bittersweet. Some have bounced back, moved into their homes, and opened their businesses. Others are still without permanent housing.
“Things are a little slow on some parts, but there’s also new building going up,” Rockport resident John Bowles said. Bowles had damage to his roof, and minor flooding, which he has since been able to repair.
“People are starting to return, and it will go back to what it was,” Bowles said.
“We’re lucky, but there’s people who don’t have homes to live in,” Bowles added.
His neighbor, Julene Fuller, was not as lucky. The storm damaged her home, forcing her family to gut the residence and essentially start with four blank walls.
“I need my sheet rock done, I need my electric done, I need my HVAC turned on, it’s hot in here,” Fuller said as she stood in what used to be her living room.
Reflecting on the last year, Fuller calls herself a Harvey “survivor.” She has no place to cook and no place to take a hot shower or use the restroom.
“I’ve never had to live like this, it is survival mode,” she explained. In addition to battling a contractor who she claims made off with thousands of dollars without completing construction work, Fuller also battles melanoma and diabetes. None of that will stop her from participating in the weekend’s festivities in the Rockport area to mark the anniversary of the storm. She makes furniture and her daughter creates pottery, which they sell at local events, hoping to make enough money to finish their home.
Mayor of Fulton, Jimmy Kendrick, has had his own housing trouble after the storm.
“It has been a long hard year,” he said two days before the anniversary of when Harvey made landfall on his coastal community.
“A lot of places have been rebuilt already, we’ve gotten a little closer to get them open, we’ve got a lot of homes that are still waiting on contractors that we can get in here to do the work,” it’s just finding a contractor you can afford,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick said the state and feds have come to the aid of Fultonites, but there are challenges that remain with insurance payments to residents.
“We’ve got people that they don’t know where they’re going to turn to,” he said.
Though like many of the people along the coastal bend, Kendrick has a positive outlook on the rebuilding efforts.
“Harvey beat us and beat us and beat us, and we’re still coming back strong,” he said. Kendrick said he was optimistic that the community would be back to 100 percent in around two more years.
“There’s a beautiful day in Fulton at the end of that tunnel,” he said.