Houston/ Community & Society
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Published on May 20, 2024
Power Restored at Houston Senior Facility After Intense Storm Leads to Days Without ElectricitySource: Google Street View

After four days of sweltering heat and darkness, a Houston senior living facility had power restored, bringing much-needed relief to its residents. Last week's vicious storms left the Houston Heights Tower and its over 200 senior citizens without power—no lights, no water, no heat. Brian Cotton, the president of the resident council, described the situation "It’s been a sweaty hot mess," according to a FOX 26 Houston interview.

The power outage forced approximately 30 individuals requiring oxygen tanks and CPAP machines to rely on emergency resources. Amidst the crises, local heroes and organizations stepped up quickly to deliver portable air conditioners, food, and other essentials. "This morning, Convoy of Hope brought a truck that had water, non-perishable food items, as well as like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products," Pastor Hannah White from Village Heights Church told FOX 26 Houston. Relief was tangible as a CenterPoint Energy truck arrived, signaling the end of their hardship. Donna Silo, a resident at the facility, expressed her profound relief, "Thank god we did get our lights back because I don’t know if I could have made it again,"

Across the broader Houston area, the storm's impact was devastating: at least seven fatalities, widespread structural damage, and hundreds of thousands left in the dark. By Sunday, CenterPoint Energy managed to quickly restore power to 88% of affected customers, with full service projected by Wednesday. “We understand the higher temperatures we are experiencing across Houston and surrounding communities make getting the lights and air conditioning back on even more important,” Lynnae Wilson, CenterPoint’s senior vice president of electric business, said in a statement obtained by CW39.

Temporary relief came for those without power in the form of cooling centers. Carolina Sierra and her son found much-needed respite and a chance to finally cool down and charge devices. "We are desperate," Sierra said, recounting their ordeal since the storm hit, in a statement to CW39. Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia offered both physical aid and moral support, helping distribute water and ice while reassuring residents that recovery was on its way, with close to 500 vehicles lined up for supplies on Sunday.

Federal assistance is on the horizon for those affected by the natural calamity, with promises of disaster assistance from FEMA and Small Business Administration loans. Judge Lina Hidalgo emphasized this support would extend not only to victims of the recent storms but also to those still reeling from late April's flooding. Meanwhile, city efforts to recover continue unabated; Downtown Houston prepares for repairs, particularly in an area with blown-out windows from high-rise buildings.

The return of power at Houston Heights Tower was met with cheers and sighs of relief. Residents had been clinging to hope and the community effort, showing, as Joseph Torregrossa, a resident, “It just goes to show you how people come together,” Outside, the reality of reconstruction sets in, Lisa Reed, observed the efforts of a volunteer crew to clear her yard, resigned yet hopeful. "It’s nothing I can do," Reed expressed to CW39, "Take it all in stride. I’m a firm believer that God will work it all out."