Cold weather creates another challenge for Harvey survivors living in tents

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

HOUSTON - As winter starts to settle into the Houston area, those who are still feeling the wrath of Harvey's aftermath are being hit with another challenge.

The neighborhoods along River Oaks Drive in Conroe are still filled with debris from the floods. Many people who are surviving in their homes said they are struggling to getting approval for any aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency aid or insurance companies.

Isidro Estrada lost his home after Harvey. His wife and two grandchildren are forced to live in tents outside their homes as their family tries to make repairs.

"This is my residence," said Estrada, as he pointed to a blue tent.

The blue tent is one he made from tarp and string. In it is his family's dining table and outside refrigerator, both of which were donated.

"It's for Maruchan (ramen noodles) and coffee," said Estrada, laughing.

He can still find the strength to smile and laugh, though his family lost everything and is sleeping on blankets in an adjacent tent, which was also donated. With lower temperatures coming, he is nervous.

"It's cold," said Estrada. "No beds. No blankets."

He said he was denied FEMA aid and hasn't seen any money from his insurance company. His family is helping him get by. He's just happy to have dry shoes, which were also donated.

Luckily, some people came by and dropped off electric, heated blankets.

"Mr. Estrada, I have some blankets for you," said a woman who  drove from Pearland to take care of the residents in the area.

"I know it's going to be cold tonight, and there are a lot of people living out here," said Lisa. "I started giving money, but I thought (of the blankets), 'They'll have it tonight when it gets cold.'"

Roughly 20 minutes away in the Woodlands, the owners of Momentum Karate & Fitness decided to make their business a site that is accepts donations to people in the area.

"We opened our doors. We had the space and there is such a need out there," said Jessica Mouallem, co-owner. "We use our own shuttle bus to take to those in need."

"They need things such as space heaters, blankets for the cold, some nice coats. Food is always a need," said Moe Mouallem, co-worker and husband of Jessica.

The couple is accepting donations at their business and through PayPal. Their goal is to help warm the hearts and bodies of those who need it most.

"Some people very good people, good hearts," said Estrada.

Those looking to help the Estradas can contact Estrada's neighbor, Liz, at guerreli24@yahoo.com.

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