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Baxter Lofts Update

MetroPlains Management values our residents and is working diligently to fix all issues resulting from last week's inclement weather. 

On Monday, February 15th Texas was hit with freezing temperatures that resulted in loss of power and water in the Baxter Lofts building.  We began communicating with the power company (TXU), the City, the Fire Department, Loaves and Fishes, and the power company to determine the cause and to provide information regarding warming shelters.  The power suppliers were unable to meet the load requirements statewide.  Part of Harlingen had power and part did not.  Baxter Lofts was in the area without power, and as a result of a burst City water line the building was also without water. 

We contacted our generator contractor immediately and was able to get lights back on in the hallways and elevator via generator on Tuesday.  We were not able to keep the generator running due to complications with a sprinkler line leak. 

On Wednesday, power company published a message encouraging people without power to seek shelter at a warming station nearest them, with the nearest available in LaFeria.  Manager communicated this to residents via text message.  By late afternoon, the City had opened the Community Center as a warming station, a few blocks from the building, and this was communicated to the residents via text message by Regional Manager. 

On Thursday, February 18th power was back on to the building but we were unable to restore service to the units without clearance from an electrician.

On Friday, February 19th, our electric contractor was able to approve power to be restored in 22 units.  Water was restored to the building, and heat was restored to all floors except the 2nd floor, awaiting a heating element to restore heat to the 2nd floor.

The domestic water was restored by the City.  Our Maintenance Tech accompanied our plumber who purged air lines, checked for frozen lines and leaks, and were able to restore service to the building. 

The elevator technician found two computers, electrical supplies, and the push buton panel inside the elevator were damaged.  Parts are being ordered, but the estimated time for full restoration of elevator service is 12-14 weeks.

On Saturday, February 20th, the President declared Texas to be a Major Disaster due to the storm.  The importance of this declaration is that FEMA has been put into place to assist residents to replace personal items

On Monday, February 21st, power is fully restored to the building and we will be replacing 7 light fixture, 3 regular outlets and 4 GFCI outlets as a result of the flooding caused by the fire suppression system freezing.  Service Master has begun the demolition and drying process in the building, utilizing drying fans and dehumidifiers.

On Tuesday, February 23rd, a fire suppression contractor was on property to assess the condition of the sprinkler system that was damaged on the 5th floor, which was the cause for the flooding.  He will be returning to make repairs. UPDATE: The fire sprinkler system is now up and running as of 2/23/2021. We have also contacted RGV Fire Safety Security to troubleshoot our fire alarm panel. This is expected to be repaired on Wednesday, February 23rd. 

Sam and Ida are working diligently and coordinating with corporate staff, our contractors and vendors to get the building back in order as quickly as possible.  This has included water remediation, plumbing, electrical, fire suppression, and elevator contractors.  As of February 23rd, there are four remaining unit that have not been able to be remediated.  We are working with these residents to address the challenges they are facing. 

What You Need to Know:

Insurance.  Our insurance covers business losses, including damage to structure and services.  It does not cover any damages to your personal property or provide for alternative housing, relocations costs, or hotel accommodations.  These are things that would be included in Renters Insurance.  If you carry Renters Insurance, you should submit a claim immediately. 

We do carry a Business Interruption plan and will be submitting a claim.  If approved, we may be able to cover the cost of your electrical service and rent from February 15th until the building functionality is restored.  This decision will be made by the adjustor.  If we are successful, we will advise. 

FEMA.  The President has declared Texas a major disaster.  What this means to you is that FEMA is prepared to assist you in a variety of ways.  You will need to apply for assistance, however.  We will have this information available to you in management office, or you can call the FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline at 1-800-621-3352.  TTY is 1-800-462-7585.  Helpline services are available from 7 am to 11 pm ET seven days a week.  You may also access the website: http://www.disasterassistance.gov   

SNAP Benefit Replacement.  SNAP customers can request a benefit replacement for food lost or destroyed due to the winter storm in February 2021 by calling 2-1-1 or sending in Form H1855. You do not need to go to an HHSC local office.

Hot FoodsTexans who get SNAP food benefits can buy hot food such as rotisserie chicken and prepared foods from a store's deli at retailers who accept SNAP.

For additional State assistance, visit:  https://hhs.texas.gov/services/financial/disaster-assistance/receiving-disaster-assistance 

Texas Rent Relief Program.  For those of you who have been unable to pay all or part of your monthly rent, the Texas Rent Relief Program is in place now.  We can help you complete your application for the period of February 13, 2020 through now.  They are able to fund your past due rent and related utilities under their program guides.  For additional information, go to:  https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/texans.htm    

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Donna Carter at 405-245-2148.