Combination of Charity and Government Help for Dallas Storm Victims – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas leaders on Tuesday gave the city high marks for responding to storms, but agreed that there was room for improvement after a brutally cold winter storm that caused electricity and water problems.

A combination of government and charity has already helped and continues to assist storm victims with problems with home installation and repair.

Mayor Eric Johnson helped distribute bottled water to residents of West Dallas on Tuesday at the Nash Davis Recreation Center in the neighborhood he grew up in.

Many people on the aqueduct said they had severe pipe problems at home.

“We had a pipe that cracked in the front yard so we cut the water line and we don’t have the money to fix it now,” said Resident Deborah Moore.

A $ 2 million home repair emergency program is on the agenda of the Dallas City Council on Wednesday to provide grants of up to $ 10,000 per home.

The combination of extremely cold weather with unexpected power outages created unprecedented complications.

“This was a situation where neither of us could say we were prepared. But that is exactly what we have to do in the city government. We need to fill in the gaps, ”said Johnson.

Volunteers met the need at a North Dallas apartment complex that had had city water turned off for a week.

“We spent many days wondering if we would be fine, if we would survive, if we had enough to eat and drink,” said Ricki Mills.

Buckets were filled with a fire hydrant at the Vila Del Solamar Apartments in the Vickery Meadows neighborhood of Dallas. According to Mills, most of the residents of the apartment complex have gathered around the hydrant several times in the past week. She said they look out for each other as a community, but it wasn’t easy.

“This is just to flush our toilets, take a bath, boil water, and wash our dishes. That kind of thing, ”she said. “You cannot take a shower. It’s nerve wracking you know We can’t function the way we normally would. Our mind is not in the right place. We feel filthy and gross and just want to get back to normal. “

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The apartment complex referred us to the California-based management company Brower Group, where we were able to contact someone over the phone. We asked when the residents of the Vila Del Solamar Apartments can expect the water to be restored. We were told the Brower Group would investigate the situation but we are still waiting for an answer.

We also contacted Alderman Jennifer Gates, whose district is Vickery Meadow. Gates said Code Compliance will continue to visit apartment complexes to ensure they are working in good faith to restore the water. She said the Vickery Park Branch Library will begin disrupting bottled drinking water on Wednesday. The library will also provide larger quantities of water to those who bring their own containers.

Gates posted a statement to NBC 5 that read in part:

My office has been in constant communication with community lawyers for the VIckery neighborhood since the storm and the start of the outages. I’ve worked with the nonprofits to reach out to residents to identify needs and then coordinate efforts to provide resources such as water and blankets, food, warming coaches and transportation for KBHCC. In addition, Code has been visiting complexes since last Thursday to make sure they are working in good faith to fix breaks and restore water supplies. The city has supplied water directly to complexes, as well as Literacy Achieves and the Northwest CommunityCenter, both of which acted as resource hubs for the past week. The library currently also supplies people with their own container with water.

Volunteer Ben Akrcer said he was part of a group of people who took it upon themselves to raise donated supplies and deliver them to people in need.

“Water is a basic human right. We live in a First World country and that shouldn’t be happening, ”he said.

Criticism of the City of Dallas’s performance includes emergency communications with residents.

Rene Martinez, chairman of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said other cities and school districts have reverse 911 text and calling capabilities that can quickly transfer information to cell phones available to most families.

“Communication with citizens and organizations need to be improved in my opinion. But being blind, I think the city did the best it could, ”said Martinez.

The city of Dallas has taken steps to provide safe alternatives.

Recreational centers were opened as thermal centers, but there were power outages in these places too.

“In hindsight, we should have identified several of these locations and reached an agreement with Oncor that they would have power if we got into another crisis like this,” said Lee Kleinman, a Dallas City Council member.

Homeless attorneys raised money for hotel rooms to house the homeless in cold weather, and when the hotel space was not up to par, the Dallas Convention Center opened as a temporary homeless shelter. Proponents, with the help of city officials, swept the city to get the homeless out of the freezing weather.

Martinez said it was a success in Dallas.

“The city did as much as it could for this one-off storm and thankfully we didn’t get the loss of life we ​​saw in other parts of the state,” Martinez said.

The old Dallas infrastructure has been a problem for quick restoration on the roads as winter weather and widespread power outages subsided.

Dallas has a massive backlog of obsolete traffic signals that need to be replaced.

Kleinman said these signals cannot simply be programmed to come back online.

“Our employees had to physically reset many of these signals, which just takes a lot of time. This is a problem that we have had for a long time and that we have budgeted improvements for, ”Kleinman said.

The severe frost and winter rainfall on the aging streets of Dallas can add to a stronger pothole season in the spring.

“I’m afraid it will be very, very harmful,” Kleinman said.

Unlike some other cities that issued advice on boiling water due to water supply problems, Dallas Water Utilities provided clean water throughout the freezing event. There was too much water where the pipes broke, and that included many of the city’s Dallas water pipes.

“We had a fair share of breaks. There is no question that we had crews doing these types of repairs 24 hours a day. Fortunately, the water system was stable and potable during this crisis, ”Kleinman said.

Kleinman and Johnson both praised city workers for helping people through the crisis, many with problems of their own at home.

Johnson said large donations from Mark Cuban, owner of Dallas Mavericks, and several players are part of a growing pot of philanthropic community contributions to the mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund.

“We have a wonderful network in this city of nonprofits,” said Johnson. “We will channel these funds to these organizations to get them to the people who need them.”

And Johnson said the good and bad elements of Dallas performance are being reviewed.

“The city manager has assured me that we will review every aspect of our response to see where we can improve. We have no illusions that we are perfect. We have no illusions that we cannot get better. We know we can get better. I think we’re doing a great job, but we can always do better, that’s the goal, ”said Johnson.

In the meantime, relief efforts for needy residents will continue.

For more information on resources for Vickery Meadow Residents, visit:

Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation

North Dallas Shared Ministries

Especially for food:

Tasby Middle School: Wednesdays from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. (If the student is absent, they must show their identity card or certificate.)

Tasby Food Pantry (open to everyone in the community): Fridays from 4 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

Vickery Meadow Food Pantry: 8448 Walnut Hill, Wednesdays 1-4, Thursdays 9-12, Saturdays 9-12

Elaine Kadane pantry: Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 8787 Greenville Ave, first and third Thursdays of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

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