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After Flooding, City Leaders Plan Meetings on Recovery and Buyouts

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Veronica Zaragovia/KUT
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The Dove Springs Recreation Center is

Recreation centers in Austin are still open through Sunday to help people with shelter, supplies and questions about their properties.

At the Dove Springs Recreation Center earlier this week, Leona Albrecht, her husband and six kids were sitting down eating a meal donated by a church group. Their apartment near the Onion Creek Bridge was flooded late last week.

"We probably lost half to three fourths of the house, and at the moment, no way to replace it," Albrecht says. "All we can do is just trash everything."

They stayed in it until Monday, when they found the Dittmar Recreation Center, which is serving as a temporary shelter with cots. This family is getting by with very little clothing.

"We had a tub to go through last night and I was able to find two children some clothing and I got my second shirt," Albrecht says.

Since last Friday, the city has helped roughly 500 families at the Dove Springs Recreation Center. This center’s open daily for help with cleaning supplies, food, inflatable mattresses and information on property damage.

Bert Lumbreras, assistant city manager for community services, says the Red Cross is providing assistance -- and the Austin Disaster Relief Network has issued more than $75,000 dollars in gift cards for immediate needs.

"We also have folks here that are doing crisis counseling, emotional support, all the different things they need to recover and hopefully rebuild their lives in a positive way," he says.

Yesterday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a statewide emergency, which allows state dollars to go towards beefing up flood preparation in Texas.

The mayor and city council will have a meeting on Sunday to talk about policy issues around the buyout program that involves the homes flooded in 2013. On Monday at 6:30 p.m., a public meeting will take place at Perez Elementary to answer questions about recovery and buyouts.

About 250 homes are on the list so far from 2013. The initial assessment of damage from the flooding of a week ago has found more than 330 properties affected in Travis County alone. That number includes some businesses, but most of the affected properties are homes. The number with major damage exceeds the number with minor damage. 

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