Some Galveston residents still not back in homes 5 years afer Ike

Galveston has been reborn, but not for some residents

GALVESTON, Texas – This Friday marks five years since Hurricane Ike slammed into southeast Texas. Ike came ashore as a Category 2 storm with a storm surge that ripped apart the Gulf Coast including Bolivar and Galveston.

It does seem like just yesterday and Galveston is still rebuilding today. Now we're hearing from some residents of the island who still aren't back in their homes.

In five years Galveston has been reborn. UTMB Galveston and the port have been rebuilt and the tourists are back. But even now, five years after Ike, some residents are still waiting to come home.

Before Ike, Rosalind Jackson lived in a public housing complex in Galveston. When the storm roared ashore five years ago, 80 percent of the buildings on the island were flooded.  And 569 public housing units were destroyed by the storm.

Whole complexes, like Magnolia Homes, were bulldozed. Jackson's apartment was one of those lost. Since then she's been living on the mainland in Hitchcock. She's still waiting to go home.

"It's sad, it's really sad and I feel real bad cause home is where we would want there, and it's a place I would want to be with my family," said Jackson.

Rebuilding public housing became a political hot button for opponents who argued large complexes became incubators for poverty and crime. The city election in 2012 was something of a referendum.

"I still believe voucher system is best way to go," said Galveston Mayor Louis Rosen.

Mayor Rosen and several council members won election promising to fight against rebuilding. But last spring, the Texas General Land Office threatened to withhold more than $100 million in disaster relief funds if the city didn't begin construction of the units it committed to rebuild.

The mayor and council got on board.

"GHA is going to break ground hopefully Nov. 15 on Cedar Terrace, the first development. And then I think everybody is going to take a deep breath and see that the city is coming together," Mayor Rosen said.