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Patience pays off as Hurricane Harvey victims receive new home

Posted: 10:13 PM, May 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-31 01:19:14-04

Amid concerns that Hurricane Harvey victims might drop out of an aid program because of how long the process is, another Rockport family is set to receive a new home courtesy of the same program.

“I call it unbelievable,” home recipient Linda Mikulenka said.

“It was like overnight I’d won the lottery,” her husband Donnie Mikulenka agreed.

The couple applied for the Homeowner Assistance Program through the Texas General Land Office in November. At that point, they’d spend 15 months in a house Hurricane Harvey left water-logged.

“We tried to just hunker down and do the best we could with what we had,” Mrs. Mikulenka said.

But when they’d had enough, they put their hopes in the hands of the GLO. That state agency is handling a pool of $1.3 billion in federal money that’s meant for home repairs and rebuilds in the Coastal Bend. So far, 52 home projects have been greenlighted out of around five hundred applications. GLO leaders hope people will visit their offices in Corpus Christi and Rockport if they’ve run into trouble or are concerned about the length of their wait.

“We want folks, before they give up or think that they might not be eligible, to come talk to us,” Brittany Eck of the General Land Office said. “Because we have specialists that are able to work through issues and help them get to that, ‘yes.”

The Mikulenkas got their “yes” from the GLO at the beginning of this month. Workers demolished their house Monday and construction of their new home will begin soon. They’re thankful for the new start, and they urge other Harvey-victims to not withdraw their applications for HAP funding.

“Keep the faith,” Mrs. Mikulenka said.

“Keep with it, and don’t stop,” Mr. Mikulenka added.