HOUSTON – A concerted effort is underway to help a 77-year-old diabetic man who is back in his Hurricane Harvey-damaged home that has been gutted down the studs and has no running water.
Johnny Hicks received funds to repair his home through a local nonprofit along with vouchers for temporary housing. In January 2019, work finally began and he moved to a motel. But he fell victim to a flawed system that lacked checks and balances and contractors who didn't finish the job.
"I hope I can get this house fixed. I don't have money to get it fixed," Hicks said.
With no more money for temporary housing or to repair his home, he moved back into the gutted space that has no walls, no ceiling, holes in the floor and no working plumbing.
"I didn't have anywhere else to go," he said.
He sleeps on a mattress on top of milk crates and cinder blocks, using a space heater for warmth.
"I'm pretty independent. I don't like to ask anybody for anything. I just pray to the good Lord. That's all I can do," Hicks said.
Michelle Brown, who works for WeatherShield Solutions, a company that was set to replace Mr. Hicks' roof for free in August but couldn't get started because of all the other structural issues.
"People need to be held accountable. He didn't deserve this. This happened to him. He's still paying a mortgage on this house. He's 77 years old. That's not fair," Brown said.
When she learned this week that Hicks was back in his unfinished, unsafe home, she reached out to Channel 2 for help.
If you can provide temporary housing or have a company that can donate services to repair Hicks' home, you are asked to contact Brown at 346-302-1737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.