Passing the Language Barrier to Get A New Home for Mr. Dao

Mr. Thiet Dao is a 91-year-old widower who was living alone in a mobile home in north Houston when Hurricane Harvey struck.  The storm was especially terrifying for Mr. Dao.  He speaks only Vietnamese, and is unable to communicate in English at all.

Harvey was cruel to Mr. Dao.  His home sustained an estimated $30,000 in damage – essentially destroyed by the storm.  Because Mr. Dao subsists on a very limited income and relies largely on support provided by his family and children, he was unable to afford repairs to his home on his own.

With no feasible options for repair or a move to safer property, Mr. Dao continued to reside in his damaged home, uncertain how he could improve his living conditions.

Fortunately, case managers from The Alliance came through Mr. Dao’s neighborhood, knocking on doors to notify residents that help was available.  Case managers found Mr. Dao and immediately took him under their wing.

After a walk-through and assessment, Avenue CDC determined that the damage to his home was too extensive to be repaired.  His entire home would have to be replaced with a new manufactured home.  After some negotiation, Avenue CDC agreed to finance and conduct the replacement of his home. 

Mr. Dao was set up with temporary housing while Avenue worked on the replacement of his home.  Throughout the process, Mr. Dao’s disaster case manager, Tien, served as the correspondent between him and the home repair agency, communicating the client’s needs and information about the repairs to the respective parties.  

Tien worked closely with Avenue CDC to make sure that the repairs were completed to the highest possible standard.  Mr. Dao’s new home has even more space than his previous one, meaning that his son from out of state was able to move in to take care of his elderly father. 

Mr. Dao is pleased with his replacement home and with his Alliance case manager, who worked diligently to provide him with consistent and high-quality assistance throughout the repair process.  He received additional assistance from HHFA and BakerRipley to help with his other unmet needs, such as furniture assistance and temporary housing.


(Contributed by The Alliance) 

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