Domestic Disaster Response & Preparedness
Photo: Craig Thompson, Disciple Design
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, TX. Over the next week, the storm stalled over southeast Texas, producing unprecedented rainfall and catastrophic flooding across 41 counties. Nearly 1 million households were directly affected. One year after the storm, 30% of people who were impacted by the storm reported their lives were still disrupted, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Episcopal Health Foundation, 15% of the homes damaged or destroyed by the storm were still unlivable as of the one year anniversary.
How Disciples are Involved:
Local Partners: local Disciples of Christ congregations, local Long-Term Recovery Groups, ECHOS, Camp Noah, and Children’s Disaster Services
Early Response: Week of Compassion provided solidarity grants to almost 250 Disciples households and more than 20 Disciples congregations that sustained damage to their homes or church buildings. Through multiple local congregations as well as a CWS local partner, ECHOS, we supported the distribution of emergency supplies and clean-up kits. Additional support for ECHOS included case management assistance and small grants for displaced families. We also collaborated with National Benevolent Association and the Pension Fund to provide mental and emotional health supports to pastors in the affected areas. Our partners at Children’s Disaster Services provided trauma-informed child care in shelters following the storm.
Ongoing Engagement: Our primary engagement for long-term recovery is through the Disciples Volunteering mission station at First Christian Church, Texas City, in collaboration with the community coalition Galveston Recovers. Volunteer teams are repairing damaged homes (see "Volunteer" below for details). We are also providing grants through other Long-Term Recovery Groups to support home repairs and rebuilds. Through ECHOS, we helped launch a disaster preparedness program to make some of the most vulnerable populations in the Houston area more resilient. Our partners at Camp Noah are providing trauma-informed day-camps for children in the affected areas.
How to Help:
Week of Compassion and Disciples Volunteering are also partnering with Reach Beyond Mission to offer special opportunities for youth groups to serve at the mission station: [https://www.reachbeyondmission.org/houston]
Become a trained volunteer with Children’s Disaster Service or Camp Noah:
Give to Week of Compassion: Designate “US Storms--Harvey”
Pray: Continue to pray for the people of southeast Texas, our Week of Compassion partners, and the volunteer teams as they work to restore affected communities.
Advocate: Access to affordable housing is a major challenge in many disaster recoveries, and recovery from Harvey is no exception. Harris County (Greater Houston Area) had a significant shortage of affordable housing prior to the storm, and about 25% of that housing was damaged. Affordable housing shortages pose challenges in many of the more rural counties as well. Learn more about this issue with these resources from the non-profit organization Texas Housers: https://texashousers.net/category/harvey-recovery/
Watch our social media feed for photos, stories, and updates about this recovery.