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Articles by Stephen Paulsen

Stephen Paulsen is a freelance journalist based in Houston, Texas.

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Amanda and Drew Heyen spent 16 years in their small ranch home on Chantilly Lane in Houston’s Central Northwest neighborhood. In that period, their house flooded nine times — more than once every two years. At first, they tried to live with the frequent inundations. They raised their furniture on cinder blocks and installed an industrial kitchen sink with no cabinetry.

After the eighth flood, in early August 2017, they decided to make plans to move.

A storm had passed, leaving a couple inches of water in their home. Amanda was hauling debris to the front lawn the next day when she turned to her husband. “I don’t want to live here anymore,” she said.

But they couldn’t get out before flood nine, Hurricane Harvey, arrived two weeks later. The Heyens bounced between motel rooms and friends’ houses for weeks. They returned home more than a month later to find that mold was growing on parts of the walls and that sections of the roof had caved in. “The computer room didn’t have a ceiling,” Drew said.

The Heyens eventually repaired the house and moved back in, but the two were determined to unload the house as soon as possible. When Drew talked to... Read more

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