81-year-old woman in housing limbo over city program

“This is a mess. This is a complete mess.”

Mary Durham doesn’t even recognize the home she’s lived in since the 1950’s. Over time, it’s fallen into disrepair. There’s mold, exposed flooring, unhinged light fixtures and even a tree through the middle of the roof. 

At one point, Mayor Sylvester Turner even came out to survey it himself, placing it on the high priority list. 

“I don’t even have the words for the frustration that I’m feeling. How I’m afraid to even go in our family home. I won’t even go in,” Durham’s daughter Antoinette Wilson said. 

Now that she’s up in age, Durham was depending on the City of Houston to do the work she no longer can. Under a free program for senior citizens, she was told they were going to start rehabbing it in May 2018, but a year later, she’s still in limbo. 

She’s since had to move in with her daughter in Channelview. 

“It’s just kind of really been difficult. Even more now. I’ll be 82 in October. It’s time to come back to my house. Trying to be patient,” she explained. 

Reporters reached out to the Housing Community Development department to see what the hold up is.

Turns out, the damage was worse than they thought, and they now have to demo the entire house as opposed to simply doing repairs. The process of bidding the work to contractors and getting permits is what’s causing the delay. 

“The elderly, most of us aren’t being taken care of like we should be. They’re not doing what they could do, and I just think they can do a better job,” Durham continued. 

Despite the city saying its truly sorry and will let Durham know as soon as they get the permit to start construction, Wilson says she just wants to see her mom get back to her church, her friends and her life again. 

“She just wants to go home. That’s all.” 

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