City, county and state officials call for help for flood victims


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 7:41 PM

AUSTIN -- Lawmakers are calling for volunteers to step up and help victims of the Halloween floods in Austin.

“This is where the water was, it was 46 inches inside the house,” said homeowner Ralph Lake.

When the water receded, Lake went to work, doing all he could to clean and repair his house hit hard by the flood.

"We'll start over. Tear out the bad and replace it with the new," he said.

Volunteers from an Austin church also lent a hand. Lake said he knew many others were desperate for help.

“A couple of houses in the neighborhood the walls actually moved, they moved on their foundation,” Lake said. “It has to happen really quickly because a lot of people [don't have help]. I fortunately had flood insurance, but a lot of people don't, and they have no wherewithal to do anything except their own resources.”

Just a few yards from what's left of Lake's back gate, city, county and state officials asked those in the community to roll up their sleeves and go to work, helping those already struggling to survive.

“We need up to 5,000 more volunteers on a regular basis,” said State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.

“Day to day, check to check, that's how they live,” said Travis County Chief Deputy George Morales. “You take something away from them, it's hard to recover.”

Officials also announced the new Austin/Travis County Flood Relief Fund and their partnership with the Texas Builders Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.

“Sheetrock, floor coverings, getting a plumber or electrician to come out, that's all very expensive,” said State Rep. Paul Workman. “And we're hopeful that this fund will help families purchase the materials they need in order to do that, in order to rebuild their homes and get back on with their lives.”

Organizers say 100 percent of the money raised will go back into the flood-ravaged community.

“We're going to do everything we can at the state level, the county level, the local level to do what we can to help this community rebuild,” State Rep. Rodriguez said.

Lawmakers are also holding two town hall meetings for those affected by the floods.

The first is Nov. 12 at St. Albans Episcopal Church and the second is Nov. 13 at Mendez Middle School. Both will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information on the Austin/Travis County Flood Relief Fund, go here.