When Hurricane Harvey inundated southeast Texas, the Hussein family’s apartment in southwest Houston stayed dry, but unfortunately, the family van was destroyed by water that flooded the parking area. The Husseins are refugees from Syria who arrived in the United States in 2015 to rebuild a life away from war. A family of seven, they lacked resources to easily replace the vehicle.
The worst part is that they depended on the van to transport Ali, their son who must use a wheelchair due to the muscular dystrophy that has affected him since birth. With the van gone, Ali was essentially stranded at the apartment, unable to leave their home for medical appointments or any other activities. The Husseins tried available means of public transit, but these couldn’t reliably accommodate the wheelchair.
Soon after the disaster, Mr. Hussein applied for help from Houston Children’s Charity’s Chariots for Children program, but was denied. The charity required a birth certificate as part of the application process, but as refugees, neither Mr. Hussein nor his son had one.
With desperation rising, in October 2018 Mr. Hussein attended a disaster recovery outreach event and found ICNA Relief, a domestic disaster response agency of the Islamic faith and one of five National VOAD agencies participating in Project Comeback: TEXAS. He met disaster case manager Salem Al-Sao, who began searching for a solution.
After many phone calls and visits to Houston Children’s Charity, paperwork was submitted in January that explained the client’s situation. The charity’s board reviewed the case, waived the provision for the birth certificate and awarded a vehicle to the Hussein family. In March, ICNA was notified that the family was selected for a brand new transport van valued at $38,000.
With that, the Husseins’ recovery from Harvey was complete. With a new van, their son can once again access places like parks, the museums, the mall, and most importantly, his doctor appointments.
(Contributed by ICNA)