No Place Like Home: Ike Victims May Not Get OK to Rebuild

A latent Texas law may keep beachfront homeowners from rebuilding after Hurricane Ike's devastation. Texas's 1959 Open Beaches Act prohibits private homes on public beaches. Whether a beach is public depends on tide lines, which can be upset by hurricanes like Ike. Thus, homes previously located on private property may end up on the wrong side of the law.

Even worse, the owners may not know for up to a year whether or not the state has condemned their land due to the status of the beach. If they finally receive the bad news, there will be no compensation from the state.

As for other immediate concerns, Gulf Coast hospitals are struggling to restore healthcare services, and millions of residents still lack power. The two issues are actually interrelated, as power outages have caused Texas clinics to stay closed.

It sounds like life as usual might still be far off for many Texans.