Hutto homeowners forced to wait months to fix their home


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and Photojournalist DEREK RASOR

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 7:40 PM

HUTTO, Texas -- A Hutto family is desperate to have their home repaired and doesn't know where to turn for help.

The family's insurance company cut a check to have contractors start repairing the damage, but they say that's when more problems started.

At 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 13, Elsie Corass and her family awoke to a demolished kitchen. Two teenagers had rammed a car into the home.

"We were sleeping and suddenly we heard a bang," Corass said. 

Two months later, a thin temporary wall and a tarp are the only things separating the inside of the home from the outdoors. Cabinets and the oven are gone. The family uses a small hot plate to prepare meals.

"My heat pump was what really got damaged, so I have emergency heater right now," Corass said,.

Corass said a contractor bid about $26,000 to fix the damage. When they received their insurance check, their mortgage company ordered it endorsed over to them.

"When I asked, it was to the effect that they were scared we were going to run with the money, so they have to put it in an escrow," Corass said. “The mortgage company said, 'We are going to work with your contractor directly.'"

Corass said that  the contractor calls her every day to ask what's going on. He said he never heard from her mortgage company.

"This is not going to be started anytime soon. This is Christmas. Christmas is coming," Corass said.

Corass said the insurance company will not reimburse them for emergency heaters and other items, denied help with temporary housing and refused to pay $554 for the temporary wall and tarp.

"They said, 'We will not pay for that,'" Corass said.  "We are not rich people. We cannot be spending all the time out of our own pockets. It's so unfair that we are being treated like this."

While Corass and her husband tried to untangle the insurance money mess, they received a letter from their homeowners association, saying they have 30 days to move debris and the tarp or face fines and legal action.

"It's like adding more salt to the wound. That's how we feel right now," Corass said.

KVUE tried contacting the mortgage company, but it did not respond to requests for interviews.

KVUE did hear from the insurance company, which said that once the settlement was given to the mortgage company, the situation was out of their hands.

KVUE also heard from the homeowners association. It said sending out violation letters is standard procedure and hopes to work with the family to find a compromise.