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Long term disaster recovery needs discussed

More than a year has passed since Tropical Storm Harvey and some local residents are still not fully recovered.

Non-profit organization Help! I’m Hurting! Inc. is working to help locals with long-term recovery following last year’s flooding. The group met at Max Bowl where they talked of community programs and involvement, case management, unmet needs and more Wednesday.

Cheryl Brewer, executive director of the organization, along with Pam Trosclair, led the discussion where renters, homeowners, construction workers and representatives of other non-profit organizations were in attendance.

Brewer stressed that those not yet recovered need to have a case manager.

“You need to have a case manager whether you’re signed up with Help! I’m Hurting!, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent De Paul, Disaster Humanitarian Services or Family Endeavors,” Brewer said. “There is a process and it is imperative that everyone has a case manager to guide them through this and nothing is missed,” Brewer said.

The need for a case manager is even more urgent as federal monies will be available in early December. Homeowners needing assistance are asked to make sure they have certain documents available prior to the December release of funds from the Texas General Land Office. The information includes a valid photo identification care, income information for all adult household members, proof of ownership, proof of primary residency/occupancy. Details on the necessary documents can be found by going to www.helpimhurtinginc.com, email to helpimhurting@gmail.com or calling 409-240-2540.

Brewer explained that the money coming to the area is separate from that which went to Harris County.

Tommy Miles of San Antonio was at the meeting along with his mother, Lucille Miles, whose home was flooded during Harvey. Miles brought along a notebook of documents related to his mother’s case. The son logged in many hours of travel from his home to his mother’s to help her maneuver through the process and get her back in her home.

He told of how, after the water was gone, everything was covered in slime and 4-feet of sheetrock had to be removed. She received $8,900 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for her personal property.

But this was not enough to cover what needed to be repaired or replaced and “a host of things that needs to be done.”

Miles said he has learned there are many locals in the same situation as his mother but some have no transportation to get to meetings such as the one on Wednesday. He feels communication is the key to helping those people.

There is also a need for committee members willing to help, be it through financial donations and in-kind donations, case management, community assessment, crisis counseling for emotional and spiritual needs, construction coordination and volunteer coordination.