Avenue’s mission is to build affordable homes and strengthen communities. Avenue has responded to the hurricane and its ensuing devastation by supporting individuals and families affected by the flood. Our response to date has included:
- Providing direct assistance to over 75 families in need, including:
- Cash assistance and provision of household goods, furniture, etc.
- Connecting homeowners with volunteer crews to muck, gut, pack belongings, etc.
- Relocating families to temporary housing
- Providing Disaster Recovery Counseling services to over 200 families and counting, including:
- Helping families assess their situation, apply for FEMA, Texas Workforce Unemployment or Disaster Unemployment and Red Cross assistance
- Providing tenants’ rights counseling
- Providing guidance on do’s and don’ts of home repair, how to avoid scams, etc.
- Guiding homeowners through their best options for recovery
Avenue’s Harvey Relief Fund
Individual donors in Houston and from across the country have contributed to Avenue’s Harvey Relief Fund. Corporate and foundation partners have also contributed grants and volunteer hours to respond to immediate and longer-term needs.
- 100% of the funds received from individual donors are being used to provide direct assistance to meet immediate needs of flood victims.
- Grants received from corporate and foundation partners are being used for direct assistance, home repair program (loans, repairs, grants) and housing recovery counseling and education.
The funds for immediate relief are being provided as direct assistance including cash and purchased items:
- Direct Cash Assistance: This assistance helps families purchase necessities while waiting on relief from FEMA or other sources. Common uses include gas for their cars, food, utilities, prescriptions and materials for immediate home clean-up/repair needs.
- Immediate stability needs: Use of these funds includes paying for temporary storage for victims’ salvageable possessions, purchasing mattresses, basic furniture and household goods for those in temporary housing or in their own homes when all was lost.
Filling the FEMA Gap
FEMA’s aid maxes out at $33,000 for home repairs, rent assistance and other needs. Most families are not receiving close to the maximum. And the maximum would not meet many families’ actual needs. Non-profits like Avenue are filling the gap for unmet needs related to Real Property Needs, Personal Property Needs and Personal Needs.
At this point, five weeks post-Harvey, most families are still waiting on FEMA or their flood insurance to know what they will be receiving in the form of assistance. We have a program to help them.
Avenue’s Harvey Recovery Program
Avenue will help homeowners make needed repairs and return to their homes as quickly as possible. Services include:
- A home repair program helping to address the gap in FEMA funding for homeowners, including loans, grants and home repair services.
- Disaster recovery counseling to help families identify the essential work that needs to be done in the house and how to best use FEMA funds (within what is required by FEMA’s award letters), to hire skilled labor and purchase materials versus what can be done via donated building materials, DIY or with skilled volunteers.
- Education services to help homeowners prioritize need and consider options, for example, how to evaluate the benefits of taking on an SBA repair loan in the context of their current finances and the value of the home.
Stay tuned for updates on Avenue’s assistance efforts!
If you know someone affected by the flood, and they need help figuring out what steps to take next towards recovering their housing, you can help them connect to Avenue’s Housing Recovery Services (click here) by helping them enroll in our program via our website. Due to such high call volume, you can help us help others by helping them enrolling online.