TV REPORT: Disaster ReBuilders, volunteers continue to provide hope 6 months after Harvey

TV REPORT: Disaster ReBuilders, volunteers continue to provide hope 6 months after Harvey

You might not hear many people talking about Hurricane Harvey these days, but more than six months after the devastating flooding that hit East Texas many residents are still picking up the pieces of their lives. Groups like the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders and the many teams of volunteers who make their work possible are supporting families in their long-term recovery efforts and keeping hope alive in the region. KRIV-TV, Houston’s Fox 26, has this report on The Fuller Center’s continuing work in the area.

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Orchard Park (NY) Presbyterian and Auburn (AL) UMC help Harvey victims

Orchard Park (NY) Presbyterian and Auburn (AL) UMC help Harvey victims

Two churches from very different parts of the country teamed up recently to work with the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders and help residents in the Houston area who are still dealing with the effects of this past summer’s flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Volunteers from Orchard Park Presbyterian Church of Orchard Park, N.Y., and Auburn United Methodist Church of Auburn, Ala., worked on five homes during the week of service. Orchard Park TV station WIVB reports on the work here, and you can view a slideshow below shared by Orchard Park Presbyterian. If you would like to volunteer with the Disaster ReBuilders, please click here.

Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders now accepting volunteers in Texas & Louisiana

Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders now accepting volunteers in Texas & Louisiana

Registration is now open for individuals and teams wishing to volunteer with the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders, who are working in east Texas to help victims of historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey this summer. In fact, teams are already on the way.

The Disaster Rebuilders are working to set up multiple camps for volunteers, but the first teams will be hosted by Houston’s Clear Lake Presbyterian Church.

Disaster ReBuilders leader Bart Tucker reports that locals and volunteers have done an excellent job of rapidly addressing the most urgent need after floods like this — mucking out homes to remove wet drywall, flooring and anything else that could allow dangerous mold to grow and fester. This means they already can focus on the second step — repairing damaged homes.

The Disaster ReBuilders will continue to operate from their base in Denham Springs, Louisiana, where they are helping residents still dealing with the after-effects of historic flooding that hit much of the state in 2016.

Meanwhile, several Fuller Center covenant partners in Georgia and Florida expect to be partnering with families who have suffered wind damage from Hurricane Irma but cannot secure funding for repairs through insurance, government assistance or traditional means.

To learn more about the Disaster ReBuilders’ plans or to support The Fuller Center for Housing’s Disaster Recovery Fund, click one of the links below:

Disaster Rebuilders information

give to the disaster recovery fund

President Snell’s Sept. 14 update on disaster recovery:

Harvey update: Disaster ReBuilders prepping to bring in Fuller Center volunteer teams

Harvey update: Disaster ReBuilders prepping to bring in Fuller Center volunteer teams

The waters are receding in east Texas, and the waterlogged area is beginning to transition from emergency mode to the dirty, extensive work of long-term recovery. Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders leader Bart Tucker said Tuesday that his group anticipates having a base camp established soon in the Texas City area, where they hope to host volunteer teams as soon as possible — perhaps by the end of September.

This work comes on top of the disaster work the ReBuilders and the Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing is doing in Louisiana, which was hit with historic flooding in 2016. For now, the ReBuilders are needing people willing to sweat and get dirty mucking out homes hit hardest by flooding from Hurricane Harvey but will need their most skilled volunteers headed to their base in Denham Springs, Louisiana, to deal with ongoing recovery efforts there.

Fuller Center President David Snell was updated on the situation Tuesday morning and said that The Fuller Center for Housing will set up registration for volunteer teams to head to Texas as soon as possible.

“The waters are receding and leaving more hardship behind,” said Snell, who has worked alongside Fuller Center volunteers in Atlantic City after SuperStorm Sandy and in Louisiana, as well as in Haiti, Armenia and other places impacted by natural disasters. “Thousands of houses in the Houston area were flooded and will require that those houses be emptied so that damaged drywall and insulation can be removed. There is urgency in this as dangerous mold will quickly set in.

“The Fuller Center will be a part of this effort,” he continued. “Volunteer teams are lining up to help.  We have folks on the ground who are helping assess where our work will be most helpful, especially with poorer families who have no one else to turn to.  Things are moving quickly — we’ll have more updates soon.”

Be sure to follow The Fuller Center’s Facebook page for updates and to bookmark FullerCenter.org for news about volunteer efforts in east Texas.

More on Harvey and other work in our September update:

Give to the disaster recovery fund

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

 

Bicycle Adventure’s spring stop in Houston, Mississippi, extra special this year

Bicycle Adventure’s spring stop in Houston, Mississippi, extra special this year

For the past six years, the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure has visited Houston, Miss., and been hosted by Parkway Baptist Church during its annual Spring Ride down the Natchez Trace Parkway.

This year the stop had added meaning because the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Houston recently switched to The Fuller Center for Housing’s ministry and not only hosted cyclists this year but also put them to work on their first Fuller Center house.

The Chickasaw Journal has a report on the stop and build day at the link below:

chickasaw journal report