$100K donation to Highland Lakes Crisis Network rebuilding two flood-damaged homes

EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON

Flooding on Oct. 16 caused water from Lake Marble Falls to rush over the top of Max Starcke Dam. The Lower Colorado River Authority said that, at the flood’s peak, the amount of water flowing through Lake Marble Falls was about 350,000 cubic-feet per second. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Flooding on Oct. 16 caused water from Lake Marble Falls to rush over the top of Max Starcke Dam. The Lower Colorado River Authority said that, at the flood’s peak, the amount of water flowing through Lake Marble Falls was about 350,000 cubic-feet per second. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The Highland Lakes Crisis Network had identified two houses — one in Burnet County and the other in Llano County — that, due to damage from the October 2018 flood and current flood plain, would have to be torn down and rebuilt.

Tammy Manning, the network’s executive director, said it would cost about $130,000 each to tear down and rebuild the homes. The organization must work within caps set by its funding sources on how much it provides per family.

The $130,000 for both houses wasn’t in the mix.

That changed after Randy Leifeste of Castell, who is on the board of the Capital Area Housing Finance Corp., talked with Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham about flood recovery needs. Cunningham pointed Leifeste in Manning’s direction.

The question was simple: What would Manning and the Highland Lakes Crisis Network do with $50,000? Manning’s reply was just as simple: start rebuilding those two homes.

“He came back four days later and said, ‘I got you $100,000: $50,000 for Burnet County and $50,000 for Llano County,’” Manning said. “That means a lot.”

The crisis network learned of the donation March 13.

The Highland Lake Crisis Network formed after the October 2018 flood, which devastated and damaged hundreds of homes and buildings in Burnet and Llano counties. The network works to coordinate responses to disasters from the federal level to locally, particularly in longterm flood recovery efforts.

But due to restrictions set by some of the funding sources, Manning said the network us capped by how much it can provide to each family. These two homes the network identified for demolition and rebuilding clearly exceeded the cap.

Manning had begun looking for funding a few days before Leifeste showed up.

The Capital Area Housing Finance Corp. was created in 1981 “to address workforce needs in Central Texas.” Manning explained the organization works to improve communities through housing.

Manning and other crisis network officials met with the corporation Executive Director Jim Shaw, who learned of the work of the Highland Lakes organization, and its needs. Manning said the crisis network has closed 550 cases since the October flood and provided $129,172 in financial assistance as of March 8.

The corporation didn’t put restrictions on how much the Highland Lakes Crisis Network could use for each family or project. The network can use those funds to begin the teardown and rebuilding of the two homes it has identified.

But it’s just a part of the longterm recovery efforts. Manning said the network spends money every day. Sometimes, it’s for a dumpster at a cost of $712.55 so people can load it with flood debris.

Though the flood happened months ago, the recovery continues.

“We’re continually giving to survivors,” she said.

Recently, the U.S. Small Business Administration issued a disaster declaration in response to the October 2018 flooding and opened up loan assistance offices in Burnet and Llano counties. Manning encouraged people affected by the flood to visit one of the offices and apply for the low-interest loans. She pointed out that flood victims should look for every resource available to them. The Highland Lakes Crisis Network resources, Manning said, are really there for people who have nowhere else to turn or get assistance.

Donations of any amount to the crisis network are still needed and always appreciated.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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