A Home After Harvey

Jun 15, 2018  |  at 1:11 pm  |  by sbrown

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By Sara Brown and Abbie Wright

Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas Gulf Coast in August 2017, leaving thousands in disaster shelters and impacting those individuals who were already experiencing homelessness. Mr. Goode* had been living in a disaster recovery shelter for nearly a month before he began working with the Housing For Harvey program.

Housing For Harvey was created in only a few short weeks after the storm by the Coalition for the Homeless, local governments, federal agencies (such as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] and the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]), and the American Red Cross. Partner agencies of The Way Home helped implement the program over two months following Hurricane Harvey by housing vulnerable people out of disaster shelters and preventing homelessness for nearly 1,000 individuals and families.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit, Mr. Goode and his two young sons had been living with friends and family. Relationships had deteriorated after the storm which made going back to that living situation impossible. Mr. Goode had also been looking for work before the storm, but he had a chronic health condition that limited his options. Looking for a job while living in the disaster shelter was made even more difficult because he struggled to find childcare for his sons within the shelter.

Once he met with the Housing For Harvey team, housing navigators were able to get Mr. Goode enrolled in the program and quickly helped him submit an application for an apartment unit. When he and his sons came back to check on their application status the following day, the team was able to tell him the application was approved and that he and his family could probably move into the unit the same day.

His sons realized that the news was good news and started jumping up and down, screaming, “We have a home?! We have our own home?! I get to have my own bed?!” and there wasn’t a dry eye among any of the team members.

Mr. Goode had planned to keep looking for work once he moved into his new unit, so he could get back on his feet after Harvey – and he did. Before his 6 months of rental assistance was up, Mr. Goode had found employment and was able to renew his lease for 12 months and is continuing to pay his rent on his own!

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