As November arrives in a typical year, most of us experience the excitement and anticipation of the Holiday Season, with Thanksgiving the official kickoff. This year may be different however, for thousands of Houstonians who were affected by the flooding of Hurricane Harvey last August. Many lost everything and are even facing homelessness.
To help raise awareness throughout the nation, November has been designated Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month (HHAM). To spotlight HHAM, HomeAid Houston is focusing efforts on BuildAid Houston, a HomeAid and Greater Houston Builders Association initiative that was created just days after Hurricane Harvey passed through. This initiative was inspired by David Weekley and the David Weeklely Family Foundation that committed $1M to the cause. Since then, BuildAid has received numerous grants including a $5.5M donation from the Greater Houston Family Foundation and a $350,000 grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund.
BuildAid provides rebuild services for homeowners whose homes flooded and do not have the means to restore them. BuildAid has received support from local builders and GHBA members who are fulfilling the BuildAid mission to repair damage at little or no cost to the homeowner.
These GHBA members have, in some cases left other jobs to work as a coalition to help restore homes and rebuild lives. BuildAid's current builder partners are David Weekley Homes, Partners in Building, Chesmar Homes, Sandcastle Homes and Colina Homes. The entire team is led by Chris Yuko with the David Weekley Family Foundation and Director of BuildAid and James Boone, BuildAid Construction Manager.
The BuildAid builders are matched with pre-qualified homeowners. They work directly with them to walk them through the finish selection process that includes flooring, cabinets, countertops and paint and then they manage the restoration from start to finish.
"Hearing the homeowners recap their stories of survival, their fear of becoming homeless, and other ways the storm impacted them and their families, is completely humbling," said James Boone. "Most were devastated and never experienced anything like it before. Some have used all of their resources and still have fallen short of a full recovery of their property. Others didn’t have extra resources before the storm. Everyone has been so grateful for us showing up to help in this crisis situation."
Homeowners must meet a specific criteria to be qualified for assistance. These include homes that are construction ready with a mold certificate, homes that have no deferred maintenance such as prior foundation or framing problems, low to moderate income homeowners, homes valued at plus or minus $150,000 depending on the homeowner's circumstances, and homes not in the 100 year flood plain.
The purpose of Homelessness Awareness Month,” explained Bill Dalton, president of HomeAid Houston, “is to draw attention to the needs of homeless people locally, and to provide opportunities within the community to help stop homelessness where possible. BuildAid is providing an opportunity that will ensure qualified homeowners do not lose their homes due to flooding and can begin to rebuild their lives."
HomeAid Houston, a 501 c 3 charity sponsored by the GHBA, was established in 2003 to work with
HomeAid Houston is one of 17 chapters of the national organization, HomeAid. As the nation’s largest provider of transitional housing for the homeless, HomeAid has completed over 400 projects, providing beds for more than 220,000 homeless men, women and children in the