With hurricane season just around the corner, Hurricane Harvey may seem a distant memory to most Houstonians. But the hard truth is there are still thousands of homeowners struggling to reclaim not only their homes, but their lives.
One phone call helped change the life of a Crosby woman who had been living in her damaged home for 8 months. Shirley Curette, a 78 year old widow, was trying to battle multiple health issues while living in an unhealthy environment. Harvey had damaged her roof allowing rain to pour in and destroy her A/C system and a number of walls in her 36 year old home.
Curette called 211 for Health and Community Services resources and was directed to BuildAid.
BuildAid is a partnership between HomeAid Houston, a 501(c)(3) charity of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA), and the Association's builder members that was created to assist homeowners impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Because of the great demand of displaced homeowners and the track record of HomeAid Houston, BuildAid was granted $5.5 million from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which was established by Houston’s Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Emmett.
Homeowners who request help from BuildAid are pre-qualified and then are matched with a builder. The builder walks them through a finish selection process and services that can vary by household but typically include: Insulation/drywall/tape/float/texture/paint, cabinetry, countertops, millwork & trim, door hardware, plumbing, kitchen and bathroom tile, pre and post-construction inspections and final clean. The builder will provide an estimate of the rebuild and will manage the construction process from beginning to end.
Once Curette made contact with BuildAid, within 24 hours, a representative was at her home evaluating her needs. RoofTec, a 24 year-old turnkey roofing company moved quickly to replace Curette's entire roof.
The next phase of her restoration was to replace the heating and air system, made possible with help from Ed Neumann of Goodman Manufacturing, who contacted a Goodman partner, Stay Comfortable A/C . Once on-site, Hilton Lyles, a company representative, designed a system with upgrades and indoor air quality add-ons that would provide the best environment to aid in Curette's health requirements.
"BuildAid gave me the latitude to design and install a system that I would put in my own mother's home," said Lyles. "Ms. Shirley is as tough as nails and as deserving as sweet pecan pie. I was honored to be able to assist in her home's restoration and to work with the incredible BuildAid team."
Homeowners who need assistance restoring their homes, complete a qualification form on the BuildAid website. Qualifications include household income between $20k-$125k; homes must have been built in or after 1978 or have a lead-free certification and no deferred maintenance issues; homes located outside of the 100 year flood plain unless funding source allows repairs in this location; homes must be owner-occupied and only one home owned; a mold certificate obtained, and homeowner holds clear title to the property.
Low-to-no interest financing will be available for the work being performed. In some cases, homeowners may qualify for a grant.
"The contractors and BuildAid never made me feel like I was a charity case," said Curette. "All I have asked for is to live my later years in comfort, and that has been given to me through the generosity of this initiative."