Collaboration for a Happy Ending

Project Comeback: TEXAS is stronger from collaborations that happen across the region on behalf of families who are still recovering from Harvey.  In this case, Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas linked arms with Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan’s Purse and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) Homeowner Assistance Program to bring a client back to wholeness.

We’ll call our client “Joe.”  During Hurricane Harvey, Joe’s home received only a few inches of water, but there was a nasty wrinkle: the water was heavily contaminated with raw sewage from a nearby malfunctioning city sewage pump.  After discarding the carpeting and his furniture, Joe found multiple cracks in the foundation.  Habitat for Humanity agreed to provide repair.  Joe stayed with a family member for a period of time, and moved home before Habitat was completed, because he “just wanted to be home,” even if it meant sleeping on an air mattress in an empty room.

As Joe moved back into his home, Habitat discovered that the problem was worse than expected.  As it turns out, sewage had been leaking into a pocket below the foundation – a problem that goes beyond what Habitat can normally handle.

Joe submitted an application to the GLO’s “Homeowner Assistance Program” and was approved for a complete demolition and rebuild, which solved two issues at once.  The rebuild eliminated the leakage problem while raising the home two feet on piers, to elevate above Harvey flood water levels.

Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas was involved at various stages throughout the process, replacing appliances and furniture for a bedroom, as well as the living and dining rooms.  In addition, CCST provided rental and moving/storage assistance.  Samaritan’s Purse replaced furniture in a second bedroom.

Epilogue: Joe is back in a new home, built from the ground up.  And the air smells sweet, at last.

(Contributed by Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas)

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