NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
HOUSTON, TEXAS – Nearly 5 years ago, on August 27, 2017, category 4 Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and Louisiana. It killed over 60 people and destroyed over 200,000 homes and businesses. Short-term recovery efforts helped many families make repairs or find new homes, but, long-term recovery efforts continue.
Recovery groups said getting Hurricane Harvey flood victims back into the houses they once called home is a priority, no matter how long it may take.
Claudette lived in her home for over 30 years. It was devastated by Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters. She immediately turned to short-term recovery groups for help.
“Habitat for Humanity, they only had so much funding for this property. So, they did not finish because they were limited to the funding” Claudette said.
She tried several local groups and contractors, but the repairs seemed out of reach. Then, the Saint Bernard Project (SBP) stepped in, giving her and her kids their home back.
Kaitlyn Perez serves as SBP’s community engagement manager. She said the organization is here for those who feel they’ve been “skipped over” when it comes to recovery.
“People may feel like they’re forgotten about. They may be in a program that is or is not helping. What we’re here to do is solve that problem and bring some predictability and some certainty to these homeowners who just don’t know where else to look” Perez said.
SBP partners with insurance companies, volunteer groups, and private investors to help people like Claudette return to their homes.
Though it’s been five years since Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, SBP has a long list of Harvey victims to reach.
“This year, SBP Houston in our operation has rebuilt 50 homes. We have a goal for all for 2022 to hit 70 homes. However, with Ms. Claudette being the 50th only in August, I am certain we will surpass that” Perez said.
FEMA’s Region 6 Regional Administrator Tony Robinson thanked groups like SBP for helping when it comes to home repairs and storm recovery.
“I can’t leave out the private sectors, the volunteer agencies, and faith-based organizations. They are also a significant part of that response effort” Robinson said.
After short-term recovery, FEMA has turned its focus to infrastructure repair.
Under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program FEMA has awarded more than $310 million in funding.
“For the long-term recovery, FEMA’s effort is primarily to continue on the long-term recovery that deals with rebuilding infrastructure and working with the City of Houston and entities to see how we can rebuild it back safer,” Robinson said.
The Region 5 FEMA director said its mitigation plan also includes encouraging all residents to get flood insurance, whether their area requires it, and to make sure they’re familiar with their policies.