Hope Meadows subdivision in Bloomington

Mark Longoria, the president of the Victoria County Long-Term Recovery Group, points to where the Hope Meadows subdivision home sites will be in Bloomington.

Only one family has qualified so far to receive a home in the newly announced Hope Meadows in Bloomington.

The $4.6 million, 40-house subdivision is owned by the Long-Term Recovery Group. The subdivision is being built for families still struggling to recover after Hurricane Harvey.

The update on the project was top on Mark Longoria’s list of updates at the recovery group’s meeting attended by about 30 representatives from his group and partner organizations Friday at Gulf Bend Center.

The property comes with a house that the organization intends to use for office space and volunteer headquarters. The contractor is already preparing the property for the infrastructure, and Disaster Aid Ohio volunteers are planning to arrive in October and begin building one house per week, said Longoria, the group’s president.

A $1.4 million grant from Samaritan’s Purse, a portion of the project’s resources, made the purchase of the land possible.

Victoria County residents can apply for a house in the 21-acre subdivision at the corner of Seventh and Leonard streets either in person or online.

A committee has been established to review and vet the applications, but only one application has been fully completed and submitted so far. About 20 have been picked up. Case managers with the four Disaster Case Management offices are seeking homeowners who qualify to apply.

“They’re working out a few wrinkles,” said Dolly Stokes, executive director for United Way. “There are sticky questions to work through because no one can profit from it.”

To qualify, the homes owned by the applicants must be uninhabitable. All of the funders requested a grant restriction that prohibits anyone from profiting from a home in Hope Meadows. So the applicants selected get a new home, but they cannot profit from the sale of the property they are vacating. The land being vacated must to go to the city, the county or a nonprofit organization.

“We want to make sure we are helping survivors who need help,” Longoria said. “This is not an investment thing at all.”

Shawn Todd, office manager for GrantWorks, which facilitates the Homeowner Assistance Program, said the program needs more outreach, and they are just beginning to send representatives door to door. The HAP program provides financial assistance to families who need to repair damages to their homes and have exhausted other resources such as FEMA and insurance.

The Homeowner Reimbursement Program helps families who have already spent money on home repairs to recoup some of that money.

Both programs are available to all affected by Hurricane Harvey, not just low-income families.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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