RGV pilot program reconstructs houses after disaster
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — When hurricane dolly swept through the Gulf Coast, it created more than $1.3 billion dollars in damage.
Now, years later, families in the Rio Grande Valley are still trying to recuperate their losses from the natural disaster. That's where the Lower Rio Grande Rapid Re-housing Program, or "Rapido", comes into play.
"Our first goal was 'okay, how do we get a family in the neighborhood, back in the places that's important to them', said Community Development Corporation of Brownsville executive director Nick Mitchell-Bennett. "They're the fabric of that, you know as soon as possible."
The disaster reconstruction pilot program will build twenty model units throughout Willacy, Cameron and Hidalgo counties.
This is the core where the family will live during the emergency phase. It has a porch, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room, and it will be expanded depending on the families needs.
"We can literally pull that core out of storage, put it up in three days, and then the family can move in," said Mitchell-Bennett. "Then after all the families are back in their neighborhood and living, we can then circle back around and help them redesign the rest of the house so it'll grow."
"We have been working more in the expansions of the temporary unit for a permanent solution," said Community Development Corporation of Brownsville architect Elaine Morales.
Senator Lucio has been carrying and amending legislation to address the needs of Valley families affected by Hurricane Dolly.
"People will not have to pay more taxes than what they were paying already," said Lucio. "We don't want to price people out of their homes, and have to subject them to hire taxes that they won't be able to meet because these are poor families."
"Gracias por la programa Rapido," began reconstructed house recipient Maria Sandoval.
Maria Sandoval say she's grateful for what the program has done for her family.
Officials say this pilot project will not only help local families but it will also create local jobs.