We will be helping families recover from Harvey for a long time; you can help

We will be helping families recover from Harvey for a long time; you can help

(Photo: From left, Debi and Bill Hayden with Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing Executive Director Tamara Danel in April at the re-dedication of their Hammond, Louisiana home, where damage from the August 2016 flood was repaired by Fuller Center volunteers.)

 

 

The images coming out of Houston and east Texas are heart-wrenching. Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath of record rainfall have destroyed homes and washed away entire neighborhoods and communities.

The Fuller Center for Housing is not a disaster-relief organization. Now is the time for those groups to step forward, and they are doing all they can in conjunction with government agencies, volunteers and good-hearted folks from across the nation — neighbors and strangers.

Eventually, the spotlight will fade from this disaster, but the after-effects will be long-lasting. Many families will be helped by FEMA, while others will be able to rebuild with the help of insurance coverage or their savings. Thousands of families, however, will no doubt fall through the cracks of assistance and years from now will be feeling hopeless.

The Fuller Center has helped families who fell through the cracks after Katrina — some of them who spent years living in FEMA trailers and some who were even denied that help. We helped families in Atlantic City, N.J., after SuperStorm Sandy. We are busier than ever in Haiti, devastated by a 2010 earthquake and in Nepal, where a massive quake struck in 2015. We remain busy helping families affected by last year’s flooding in Louisiana. And we will be there for families impacted by Harvey. With the Associated Press reporting that only 2 of 10 Houston area homeowners possess flood insurance, your support of The Fuller Center’s Disaster Recovery Fund is desperately needed.

“While FEMA will help many, their funding typically covers only a portion of the recovery costs,” Fuller Center President David Snell said. “As is always the case in these events, the poor will be the least able to restore their homes. This is where The Fuller Center can be the most helpful. We will be reaching out to those families to help them rebuild.

“We focus our work on recovery, and there will be a great deal of work ahead of us in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” he added. “Our generous donors’ gifts will be put to good use once the flood waters have receded and the vital work of getting houses restored begins.”

Cathy and David Wagner thank Fuller Center volunteers in April 2017 for their help in repairing their flood-damaged home.

HARVEY TAKES AIM AT LOUISIANA

The Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders currently have a base in Denham Springs, Louisiana, where they are busy helping families affected by two devastating floods in 2016. It was just in April that dozens of Fuller Center volunteers converged on Hammond, Louisiana, for the Higher Ground on the Bayou Flood Recovery Blitz. Those areas are now in line to get at least several inches of rain as Harvey moves inland once again, threatening to extend the current flood disaster into Louisiana.

“It is very gloomy and dreary and rainy, raining off and on today with lots of thunderstorms,” Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center Executive Director Tamara Danel said when reached Tuesday in Hammond, Louisiana. “And the forecast is not looking good.”

Ginger Ford Northshore has hosted hundreds of volunteers over the years helping families who suffered for years after Katrina and more recently families impacted by two historic floods in 2016. She knows how difficult it will be for those impacted by Harvey over the years to come.

“It’s going to take years and years for the folks in Texas to be taken care of one way or the other,” Danel said. “I’m just really shocked and devastated by the destruction and worried about the lack of available housing when all of this is said and done because so many houses are going to be in ruins.”

Danel’s team built a new home in Pearl River, Louisiana, last year for a family that had been living in a FEMA trailer for more than a decade after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina — a build that was sandwiched between the area’s two devastating 2016 floods. She has seen the looks of hopelessness on the faces of those who believe help will never come.

“There are still families here who have not begun work on their homes and are not living in safe, sanitary conditions, and it’s been over a year since the flood,” she said. “We had about 150,000 people affected by the floods last year, and so many are still without restored homes. When you multiply that by what we see in Texas, it’s going to be an astronomical challenge to help everybody and to find housing that is safe and sanitary for people to live in.”

WHAT’S NEXT

The Fuller Center for Housing is monitoring the situation in Texas and Louisiana and already in talks with church and other groups about partnerships and other ways to help once the immediate disaster situation is under control. If you know of a church group interested in forming a Faith Builders partnership to help families recover or would like to become a covenant partner, please contact The Fuller Center at email@fullercenter.org.

how to become a fuller center
for housing covenant partner

 

Closing ceremony today for two-house blitz build in Rainelle, West Virginia

Closing ceremony today for two-house blitz build in Rainelle, West Virginia

The Potomac Highlands Fuller Center for Housing will hold closing ceremonies for the end of the first of two blitz weeks this summer to help families in the community of Rainelle, West Virginia. Today is the one-year anniversary of that devastating natural disaster.

One house is being built in partnership with Travis Nutter and his children on 4th Street. Another house is being built in partnership with Robin Keaton and James Childers and their children on 3rd Street. Both families lost their homes and majority of their personal possessions in the flood. Both homes have been sponsored and are being constructed by the DreamBuilders of Maryland. There will be another two-house blitz later this summer.

View WDBJ’s report on this week’s project at this link.

 

VIDEO: One of the best looks at flood damage in Livingston Parish, Louisiana

The Fuller Center was recently alerted to a YouTube video that has been seen nearly 20,000 times and provides some of the best footage from the flooding in Livingston Parish, which is where the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders have established a base to help families recover from the disaster that struck last summer.

The Disaster ReBuilders are currently in Denham Springs, La., and are welcoming volunteers who want to help. Click here to learn more about volunteering with the Disaster ReBuilders.

Livingston Parish borders Tangipahoa Parish, another hard-hit community where the Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing is based. Ginger Ford is hosting a 4-day flood recovery build in April and also hosts Fuller Center U.S. Builders teams working in flood recovery.

The video above features many scenes from the flooding and features interviews with many affected residents, including actor/director John Schneider (“Dukes of Hazzard,” “Smallville”), who lives in Livingston Parish and has a production studio there. As he states in the video:

“That’s how God works. God sends people — people who care.” — John Schneider, actor/producer/director and Livingston Parish resident

Also in the video, you can see people wearing “This is church” T-shirts. These come from one of our church partners on the ground — Christ Community Church of Denham Springs.

Support Fuller Center disaster recovery

 

Be sure your flood relief dollars go to validated nonprofits like The Fuller Center

Be sure your flood relief dollars go to validated nonprofits like The Fuller Center

Every time there is a natural disaster — here in the United States or elsewhere — generous Americans rise to the occasion to help through volunteering and/or donating toward nonprofits who are dedicated to helping families recover.

Unfortunately, every time, there are a handful of scam artists and other unscrupulous people who pounce on the opportunity to take advantage of that good will to enrich themselves.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has issued a statement warning people to get to know charities and nonprofits before giving to them, especially if they call you to solicit your donations by phone.

“There are several helpful resources that will help you verify the existence of a charity and make sure your contribution will reach Louisiana’s flood victims in a meaningful way.” — Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp

“When a catastrophe of this nature occurs, con artists seize the opportunity to prey on donors by holding themselves out as legitimate charitable organizations,” Secretary Kemp stated in the release. “Do not be fooled by these scams. There are several helpful resources that will help you verify the existence of a charity and make sure your contribution will reach Louisiana’s flood victims in a meaningful way.”

Among them are GuideStar, which evaluates nonprofits’ transparency and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, which evaluates numerous standards.of accountability. The Fuller Center has received the Gold Level for transparency from GuideStar (click here to see the GuideStar report) and meets all 20 standards from the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance (click here for the BBB report on The Fuller Center).

We encourage you to examine nonprofits closely before you give — and we invite you to take a closer look at The Fuller Center for Housing, which has two covenant partners in flooded areas of Louisiana already busy helping residents pick up the pieces from this month’s disaster.

Fuller Center 8-page case statement & annual report

Click to support The Fuller Center’s flood recovery efforts

LOUISIANA FLOOD UPDATE: Report from Fuller Center leader in Tangipahoa Parish

LOUISIANA FLOOD UPDATE: Report from Fuller Center leader in Tangipahoa Parish

Earlier this year in March, Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing Executive Director Tamara Danel reported that flooding in southern Louisiana — including in Tangipahoa Parish where her covenant partner is based — was the worst the lifelong Louisianan had seen in her lifetime.

Until this month, that is. Flooding has damaged more than 40,000 homes and taken the lives of at least 13 people. Short-term disaster relief has arrived in bulk, but Danel knows that recovery from a disaster of this magnitude takes months and even years for some. In fact, earlier this month, she worked to help a family in Pearl River, Louisiana, get a decent home for the first time since their house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“I think there’s a lot of shock and a lot of post-traumatic stress disorder right now,” Danel said Thursday of residents dealing with two floods of historic proportion in the span of just a few months. “Everybody’s still in shock and disbelief and overwhelmed.”

Danel said Ginger Ford Northshore is working closely with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, which is mucking out the soggy homes and clearing the way for The Fuller Center and others to follow with repairs. She added that the Ginger Ford Northshore’s main targets for assistance will be those without flood insurance — especially the elderly and disabled.

You can hear the entire 8-minute interview with Danel below:

 

Support flood recovery in louisiana here

World Changers youth work with Fuller Center to lift flood-damaged community

World Changers youth work with Fuller Center to lift flood-damaged community

In March, flooding ravaged parts of Louisiana. Among the hardest hit was Tangipahoa Parish, where at least 1,000 homes took on water.

That’s where the Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing has worked for years to build new homes and repair scores of existing homes. This week, their efforts to help families still recovering from the floods has gotten a tremendous boost from World Changers, which has sent 140 young volunteers from several different states to work with Ginger Ford Northshore.

“It definitely builds morale among the homeowners,” said Ginger Ford Northshore Executive Director Tamara Danel, whose Fuller Center covenant partner also hosted World Changers teams in 2013 and 2014. “They definitely feel uplifted. We’ve got a lot of happy homeowners who were in desperate need of a wheelchair ramp or flood repairs or repairs to their existing homes.”

“The World Changers’ mission is the same as The Fuller Center’s mission in that they come to serve in the name of Jesus, and they want it to be done with love for whoever needs help. It’s a great fit.” — Tamara Danel, Executive Director, Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center

In addition to helping flood victims make long-needed repairs, the volunteers also are building wheelchair ramps and making other non-flood-related repairs. The covenant partner also is hosting a 10-volunteer team from St. Joseph’s Prep School of Philadelphia. At least 19 projects are being tackled this week.

Students from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School of Philadelphia work this week in Tangipahoa Parish, La.

Danel said the community’s embrace of the volunteers is key to being able to host such a large group, and their response also makes volunteers want to return.

“We have some repeat World Changers group leaders who’ve been here before and really like coming here,” she said. “They like the food and the hospitality and they like the scope of the work that we assign them. They feel like they can really get hands-on and get involved and really make a difference in the lives of the people they have come to serve. And we’ve had lots of local churches and local businesses step forward to feed our volunteers.”

In addition to supplying many hands ready to work, World Changers provides some intangible support to The Fuller Center, as well, by infusing new energy and spirit into the ministry. Danel believes that The Fuller Center and World Changers are kindred spirits and natural partners.

“The World Changers’ mission is the same as The Fuller Center’s mission in that they come to serve in the name of Jesus, and they want it to be done with love for whoever needs help,” she said. “It’s a great fit. All of the volunteers come with eager hearts and minds and are just ready to serve and do whatever it takes. So it’s a great fit with The Fuller Center.”

Related: The video below is from The World Changers’ 2014 visit to Tangipahoa Parish:

David Snell: Louisiana flooding victims need our help

David Snell: Louisiana flooding victims need our help

Last week, as much as 20 inches of rain fell in some parts of Louisiana in less than 48 hours. One of the hardest-hit parishes is Tangipahoa, where the very busy and effective Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing is based.

Ginger Ford Northshore Executive Director Tamara Danel was raised in nearby New Orleans, where flooding has always been a common occurrence. But she says she has never witnessed flooding like this. In Tangipahoa Parish, more than a thousand houses took in water and more than 2,800 people had to be rescued by boat.

“This flood affected rich and poor alike,” she said. “We are very worried about the homes where no flood insurance was required and the families do not have the resources to go out and buy all new insulation, drywall, baseboard molding, doors and appliances. Those families need their homes repaired quickly before any unwelcome black mold takes over.”

100 percent of donations made to our disaster fund will go toward helping these families rebuild their homes and their lives.

Scenes like this are all too common in Tangipahoa Parish, where more than 1,000 homes took in water from last week's massive rains.

Scenes like this are all too common in Tangipahoa Parish, where more than 1,000 homes took in water from last week’s massive rains.

Our friends at Ginger Ford Northshore do an outstanding job and already had committed to one new home build, two ReNew projects and at least 25 Greater Blessing repairs before this flood struck. Those ambitious plans already had stretched their 2016 budget thin, and they currently do not have the money in their budget for this recovery effort. But this outstanding Fuller Center covenant partner stands willing to help flood victims if we can simply help them raise the money to do the job.

So let’s do it! Let’s extend that helping hand to families in need!

The Fuller Center for Housing helps families in need of a decent place to call home. That need becomes stark when disaster strikes, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable among us. As the floodwaters recede in Louisiana many families are facing great hardship, especially those who were uninsured and don’t have access to the resources to repair their homes.

We will be reaching out to these families, and we need your support. Remember, 100 percent of donations made to our disaster fund will go toward helping these families rebuild their homes and their lives.

donate to help flood victims