While hurricane season is wrapping up, the devastation from Hurricane Harvey continues to be felt – more than a year after the storm ravaged the Bayou City.
That’s why Houston Habitat for Humanity, best known for building affordable homes, continues to focus on home repairs for Harvey-impacted homeowners.
“We have been working diligently for over a year,” said Houston Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Allison Hay. “We have helped more than 250 homeowners get back into their houses. But there’s still a lot to be done, so we are still working.”
To date, Houston Habitat has provided repair and other recovery services valued at more than six-million dollars to help low-income families move back into their homes, particularly in neighborhoods in Northeast Houston.
In Harris County alone, more than 150,000 homes were damaged by Harvey’s winds and floodwaters. That’s roughly 11-percent of all housing available in the Houston area.
“If you know Houston, you know we had an affordable housing shortage before the storm,” said Hay. “So Houston Habitat is taking a multi-pronged approach that addresses both new home construction and repair, including resilience,” she continued.
Harris County and the City of Houston are poised to receive more than one-billion dollars from the federal government for flood recovery projects, including housing repair and rebuilding and infrastructure improvements. The City’s Local Action Plan provides a roadmap for how these funds will be spent which includes local needs assessment, connection to unmet needs, local programs and requirements, local consultation, and expenditure timelines.
“We have been talking about a comprehensive housing plan for a really long time. The local action plan is a step in the right direction,” said Hay. “It is important that our city has a plan to ensure that housing needs are met in fair and equitable ways across the city, and to make our housing stock more resilient,” she continued.
With the one-year anniversary of Harvey behind us, Hay remains hopeful for those who are still in need. She wants to spread the word that there’s still help available. Low-income homeowners looking for home repair can apply for assistance at haveryhomeconnect.org. And Houstonians looking for new affordable homes can find out more about the Houston Habitat program at https://houstonhabitat.org/homeowners/.