Houston Homeowners at a Loss as There Aren't Enough Workers to Help Rebuild After Hurricane Harvey

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Marine Corps League member Jeff Webb, left, of Montgomery, Texas, and rescue diver Stephan Bradshaw, right, of South Carolina rescue a dog that was chained to a flooded porch as a result of Tropical Storm Harvey Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 in Lumberton, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

After Hurricane Harvey deluged parts of Houston, the flood-prone city is still trying to rebuild, which has been made more difficult due to a shortage of contractors.

"We were already busy before, and now we’re just crazy," Greymark Construction president Leslie King told CNBC. "You have homeowners begging to have you come out to their house. You have to tell them it will likely be a couple years."

Harvey flooded an estimated 136,000 structures in the Houston area – roughly 10 percent of the registered structures in the Harris County Appraisal District.

The destruction left behind led to a large demand for workers to help put homes back together.

(MORE: Three Category Four Hurricanes Have Made a U.S. Landfall in 2017)

Already, the city had been experiencing a labor shortage due to so many construction workers leaving during the housing crash, and again when oil prices dropped, CNBC reported. Even though prices eventually rose again, workers did not return. Immigration policies have made the process even more difficult, as a majority of Houston’s construction workers come from Mexico.

In a release, the National Association of Home Builders made a plea for lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform due to the shortage of residential construction workers.

"A successful guest worker program will help alleviate the current labor shortage in the residential construction sector, quicken the rebuilding efforts in Texas and support the overall economic growth of this nation," NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said in the release.

King echoed the association’s sentiments.
"I'd ask him to please let anybody who wants to come work, is willing to make a dollar, is willing to pay some taxes, let them come, please, we need them,” she told CNBC.

King also warned of potential scams: Texas does not require contractors to have licenses, which makes desperate homeowners vulnerable to being ripped off. She warned that residents should do their research and be sure their contractor has a good reputation before hiring them.

She also urged them to remain patient, as most reputable contractors already have numerous people on their list.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Source : https://weather.com/news/news/houston-texas-homeowners-rebuild-construction-worker-shortage

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