Devastating. Life changing. Historic. These were some of the adjectives used to describe the effects of Hurricane Harvey and were words on the mind of David Weekley, the founder of the country’s largest privately owned residential construction company and Bette Moser, Executive Director of HomeAid Houston, as they discussed the after-effects of Harvey in early September.Read More
“Bette, this storm has changed our landscape forever and, as part of Houston’s homebuilding community, we have to step up and help,” said Mr. Weekley. A few weeks later, HomeAid Houston, a 501(c)(3) charity of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA), met to consider the organization’s response…and BuildAid was born.
Combining the knowledge and history of this fifteen year old charity, relying on the commitment and strength of the GHBA’s builders and remodelers, and partnering with community funders, including the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which granted BuildAid $5.5 million, BuildAid is now operating in many sectors of Houston, helping hurting homeowners restore their homes.
Homeowners who need assistance restoring their homes, complete a qualification form on the BuildAid website. Qualifications include:
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 and trim, door hardware, plumbing, kitchen and bathroom tile, pre- and post-construction inspections and final clean up. The builder provides an estimate of the rebuild and manages the construction process from beginning to end. In some cases, homeowners may qualify for a grant. In addition, low interest financing may be available for the work being performed.
The BuildAid construction team is led by Director Chris Yuko with the David Weekley Family Foundation and includes Builder Manager James Boone, Builders Randall Rowlett, Neil Smolik and Omar Guzman and the client services team of Bob Sutton, Kate MacMullan and Cashondra Roberson. This team works closely with the homeowner and the builder partners.Read More
BuildAid builder partners manage the restoration process for the homeowner. These experienced professionals understand the urgency in getting people back into their homes. They are working within the program’s procedures to offer an efficient and quality solution that can scale across target neighborhoods and our community. This will help prevent foreclosures and short sales that not only impact families but also the overall value of the community.
GHBA BUILDER PARTNERS
In addition to the GHCF $5.5 million grant, a number of other contributions have been made:
One of the most recent partnerships with BuildAid is with the Rebuild Texas Fund that is providing a grant for $350,000 to help homeowners working through BuildAid to acquire furniture that was lost to flooding. The Rebuild Texas Fund was launched just days after Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas communities. A collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation, the initiative is dedicated to the economic recovery of hard-hit Texas Communities. As part of this program, BuildAid has secured a partnership with Gallery Furniture.
As the new hurricane season is upon us, it is unfortunately a reality that there are still thousands of stories of homeowners struggling to restore their homes. One of BuildAid’s first projects came as a result of a phone call that helped change the life of a Crosby, Texas 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.Read More
Curette called 211 for Health and Community Services resources and was directed to BuildAid.
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.”
“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 these companies and this initiative.”
A Katy, Texas area homeowner who experienced two and a half feet of water, learned about BuildAid through their homeowners’ association. Fredrick and Alta Hodges never dreamed they would be ferried from their home in a rubber boat by the Coast Guard, along with dozens of their neighbors. On August 28th, three days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the Hodges boarded the boat and left the area for 10 days before returning to find they had lost everything on the first floor. “That was the worst part,” said Fredrick. “Knowing our house flooded and we couldn’t get in to assess right away. There was going to be a mold problem and we worried about that more than anything else.”Read More
Volunteers from a local church assisted in removing the wet materials from their home, but the question of how to move forward from there was overwhelming. Through their HOA, the Hodges were introduced to Chris Yuko and SBP, a disaster relief organization who identifies areas in need. “The Hodges were the ideal candidate for this initiative,” said Chris. “They were quickly approved and matched with a David Weekley Home builder to begin the construction.
Construction moved quickly for the Hodges and their home is now restored.
“Everything that Chris and our David Weekley builder have said would happen, has happened,” said Fredrick. “We had heard terrible stories from other flooded homeowners about bad experiences, but with BuildAid’s team we never worried. Every subcontractor that has been in our home has been both professional and efficient.”
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