Rockport is a beach community located in Aransas County. It has shops, beaches, and, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, absolutely no apartments. With a population of roughly 10,000 people, the community thrives on tourism. After Harvey tore through South Texas, Rockport and the rest of Aransas County suffered significant damage. Some predicted that tourism would be affected for years to come. Though some tourism has returned to Rockport, many of the buildings have not.
The Problem with Rebuilding
After the winds and waters from Hurricane Harvey stopped, roughly 20 percent of Rockport’s population left town. Now, residents are wondering when and how those who left will return to Rockport. With a lack of affordable housing, the town has a problem attracting workers that it needs to rebuild itself to its pre-Harvey conditions for tourism. In a comment to the Texas Tribune, County Judge Burt Mills noted that the town lost about a quarter of its taxable property and school enrollment in the area dropped by 15 percent after Hurricane Harvey.
“[Low-wage workers] have moved on to bigger places like San Antonio or wherever, got jobs, got a place to live,” Mills said. “Maybe they’d like to come back to Rockport, but would they like to come back for a job that pays not as much as they’re making in San Antonio—and not have a house to live in?”
Diane Probst, president of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, joined Mills in concern over a lack of workers to rebuild the town. To attract workers to the area, Probst wonders if the town needs to house workers in nearby towns so they can afford to live in the area.
Hope on the Horizon
Last August, residents in Rockport hoped that a $6.5 billion federal grant would be directed toward rebuilding affordable housing. That money has been slow to reach Rockport, and rebuilding has not yet started. The Texas legislature recently passed a set of bills valued at $1.8 billion in relief funds for residents. With resources on the horizon, the citizens of Rockport hope that their leaders won’t forget them. Rebuilding has been a challenge, and Rockport residents are hoping their neighbors will finally be able to return as state-provided assistance flows into the area.
If you’re having issues recovering from Hurricane Harvey, there is still hope. Call our Hurricane Harvey attorneys today at (888) 400-2101 to learn your legal and financial options at no cost.