Beware of Door-to-Door Hurricane Help - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/31/06 - Hemphill

Beware of Door-to-Door Hurricane Help

by Ramonica R. Jones

Expensive mold and roof damage from Hurricane Rita left a Sabine County woman wondering how she would fix her home, then someone offered to help her with thousands of dollars in renovations. But months after the storm, a blue tarp still covers her roof where those repairs should've been made.

After Hurricane Rita hit last fall, Judy Clark was left with more than $7,000 in damages and a big mess to clean up. Not long after the storm, help literally landed on her doorstep, or so she thought.

An employee with the San Augustine-Sabine County Help program offered to get her home fixed through a grant, but their contractor told her labor costs alone to fix her roof would be about $6,000.

Clark said, "I told him to hold off on it and I began getting other bids, and that's when we started doing battle, because I wouldn't use his contractor. I wanted to use my own - we couldn't compromise."

The home never got fixed. A spokesperson with the Help program blamed Clark for the delay, saying she turned in her bids too late. But Clark said she was never told she had a deadline to get the bids in.

No one from the San augustine-Sabine County Help program would go on camera with the East Texas News, but after we contacted them they called Clark and accepted her bid for home repairs, which should start this week.

"There's another room that needs fixing and there's mold in the attic in the insulation, but I'll deal with that later on. This is a start."

The Church World Service issued the grant to repair Clark's home. The grants coordinator said she doesn't deal directly with clients, but works with agencies that repair their homes. She said Clark's home will be repaired soon.

Depending on the weather, work Clark's home should be finished in about two weeks.

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