Harvey hit Houston hard. With a stunning 135,000 homes damaged, hundreds of thousands of residents have been doing their best, first and foremost, to keep safe and then to stabilize their living situations. Of the 135,000 families affected, 45% make a combined income of less than $50,000 annually. We know there is a long slog ahead for everyone impacted by Harvey’s flooding, but it will be especially hard for those who were living paycheck to paycheck even before the storm.
Like so many other individuals and organizations, Avenue has stepped in to provide assistance and support. One special family we have met during this time is the Gutierrez family.
The Gutierrez's have faced plenty of challenges in their lives as two low-income wage earners with four kids, two of them with special needs. But they had always made ends meet by running a tight ship. Even on limited incomes, they were able to buy a home of their own and cherished living in a supportive community where they felt safe and secure.
Then Harvey came, bringing three feet of water into their home and wrecking that tight ship. The family of six was forced out of their home, grappling with the enormity of their loss and the immediate need to find a place to stay.
Avenue was able to assist the Gutierrez’s by mobilizing volunteers to muck out their home, connecting them with safe temporary housing, and then relocating them to one of our apartment communities. In their Avenue apartment, everyone has a bed to sleep in and a table to share meals and do homework. The family has been able to get back into a routine, allowing the parents to be productive at work, and the children to focus on their education. Without a stable housing situation, this simply would not be possible.
Meanwhile, our counselors have been working with the Gutierrez’s to file FEMA paperwork and access resources for home repair. Restoring their home will be a struggle, even with FEMA’s assistance, and the Gutierrez’s will need solid guidance to make sure they stay on track financially. Our Family Asset Building team will be with them every step of the way as they rebuild.
There is no quick fix to the ruin left in Harvey’s wake. But Avenue is here for the long haul. For 26 years, we have worked in Houston to provide high-quality affordable housing options and strengthen the communities around them. Through smart investments in people and neighborhoods, we are building the foundation for every resident to thrive in our city.
To all of our supporters, thank you for being a part of our story. We couldn't do it without you!