Rebuilding Together Dedicated to Long-term Disaster Support in Louisiana, Texas, California and Florida
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2018 – At the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season, Rebuilding Together, the leading national nonprofit organization with a mission of repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives, is continuing its disaster recovery work in four states affected by natural disaster in 2017 and 2016.
Through Home After Harvey, a program established to rebuild homes impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Rebuilding Together Houston has a goal to complete work on 500 homes in five years, focusing on the Independence Heights and Kashmere Gardens neighborhoods. Hurricane Harvey, a category five hurricane that cost the state of Texas $125 billion in damage, garnered significant media attention in Houston.
However, Harvey’s destruction spanned the entire state. Its wrath was also inflicted on smaller cities outside San Antonio and along the Gulf Coast. Rebuilding Together San Antonio is focused on the needs of homeowners in Rockport, Aransas Pass and Port Aransas. They have completed work on 27 homes since the beginning of the year and are in it for the long haul. Because rebuilding after a disaster is a collaborative effort, Rebuilding Together San Antonio is working closely with several long-term recovery partners, including the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group, a nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen long term recovery by addressing unmet, disaster-related needs of individuals and communities. It is not widely known that the coastal area of Texas was hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. Relief efforts in Rockport, Aransas Pass and Port Aransas are especially important because these areas lack the resources of larger metropolitan cities and tend to fall out of favor with the media rapidly after a disaster.
In response to the 2017 California wildfire, Rebuilding Together Petaluma has partnered with Homes for Sonoma to build tiny homes that will provide semi-permanent housing to individuals affected. Damage from the wildfires has topped $10 billion and nearly 95,000 residents were forced to evacuate. By building tiny homes, Rebuilding Together Petaluma and Homes for Sonoma will give evacuees the opportunity to return to their communities while permanent housing is rebuilt. They anticipate the rebuilding work to begin in June.
Affiliates in Florida are committed to rebuilding 200 homes in 5 years, in response to Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma is unique in that it severely affected the entire state, including mainland cities. Six Rebuilding Together affiliates are responding to the needs of homeowners in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, West Palm Beach, Broward County and Gainesville. Repairs include debris removal, roof repairs, replacing damaged sheet rock, weather-proofing and, at times, total home reconstruction. Rebuilding Broward County is providing hurricane preparedness for vulnerable homeowners through its pilot program, Broward Cares. Through the program, they will be installing accordion style hurricane shutters to help protect homes from high winds during a future hurricane.
“Many recovery organizations conclude their relief efforts once first-response needs are met,” said Caroline Blakely, President and CEO of Rebuilding Together. “Rebuilding Together is often one of the very few options for our neighbors still seeking assistance with flood recovery – not only in Louisiana but in cities and states across the country that have been affected by disaster. This is why the work we do is so important.”
According to FEMA, The Disaster Process and Disaster Aid Programs, it is the long-term recovery phase of disaster that places the most severe financial strain on local and state governments. Rebuilding Together’s expertise in owner-occupied home rehabilitation is a critical resource for recovering communities impacted by natural or man-made disasters
Coordinating a response effort is a major undertaking and requires a commitment of both time a resources. Rebuilding Together, through its expertise in health and housing and established relationships in affected communities, is positioned as a long-term provider of disaster recovery support. Rebuilding Togethers focuses on aid to local communities so that they, in coordination with government and other nonprofit agencies, may, in a time of crisis, continue to address the needs of homeowners across the countries.
In response to the flooding that occurred in southeastern parts of Louisiana in 2016, Rebuilding Together affiliates in Baton Rouge and Acadiana are still addressing the needs of homeowners whose homes were devastated by more than 20 inches of prolonged rainfall. The historic flooding submerged thousands of homes and businesses over a few days.
For more information on Rebuilding Together, visit rebuildingtogether.org.