Third Ward residents still dealing with plumbing issues weeks after the winter storm

Residents in Third Ward are still dealing with busted pipes weeks after the winter storm

HOUSTON – Five weeks ago, many Houstonians were scrambling to fix all the plumbing problems caused by the winter storm. Still, many Houstonians are still dealing with the aftermath, struggling to complete repairs on busted pipes and dealing with low water pressure.

On Francis Street, in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward, several residents said they are still suffering from storm damages.

Resident Freddie Alexander showed KPRC 2 16 busted pipes at his home.

“It’s very frustrating as tenants to go through what we’re going through after the freeze,” Alexander said.

Alexander said he had no water for weeks, which had been the initial struggle. But now, he’s still struggling to get repairs on the pipes and dealing with low water pressure, relying on bottled water and other sources of water to maintain a decent living.

“The bottled water and people helping each other, it eases the pain, but the frustrating part that we’re still trying to get over is there are still kinks that need to be worked out and need to be worked out more rapidly,” Alexander said.

Alexander and his neighbor said their landlord owns multiple properties in the area. Both said they still need repairs.

Brandy Johnson, another tenant in the neighborhood, had 36 pipes burst.

“We struggled. It was bad. I took my kids to a hotel and we just kind of made do with what we had,” Johnson said.

However, she said their landlord is doing the best he can and as fast as he can. She said he has sympathy for him and knows he is trying to do his best, despite having busted pipes himself.

“He’s a good landlord,” Johnson said. “Anytime I need help, he’s there. Any time our pipes have busted before, because of our dogs, he came and he fixed those. He showed us how to fix the pipes.”

She said her landlord, like many, is struggling to get supplies. Johnson said she even saw her landlord at the store. Johnson herself tried many stores to get supplies. The mother of eight, including three foster children, wanted to act quickly.

“I just took it upon myself and we went to the hardware store. We went to several ones and they were all out. We went to a couple of mom-and-pop stores around here. We were able to get pipes and stuff that we need. (My landlord) was actually in line behind us, and we told him to get in front of us to get the pipes to help the other tenants,” Johnson said. “Basically, we fixed our own water ourselves and we even gave (our landlord) some supplies as well.”

Alexander, though, was less sympathetic and said some tenants are struggling and have been for a while.

“If the landlord does not have a backup plan, how can he expect his tenants to be safe?” Alexander asked. “At this point, what can we really do?”

He said he hopes that the city, neighbors, landlords, and non-profits can work as a team to find a solution.

“(I hope) things get done efficiently and that Mayor Turner and Councilwoman Shabazz can work out a plan,” Alexander said.

The residents have been working with the non-profit Black United Fund of Texas, to get help. They are also in contact with the city to discuss what options they have.