Hurricane Harvey hadn’t finished dumping three trillion gallons of water on Houston last August when LISC’s local staff began mobilizing for the city’s recovery. Within days of the deluge, LISC announced a $100 million commitment, and a pledge of technical support, for Houston and hard-hit areas in rural Texas and the Gulf Coast, to help ensure an inclusive recovery. It is estimated that Harvey damaged 311,000 homes in the city and caused more than $50 billion in property and economic damages to the Houston area.
Right away, LISC staff began pulling together community partners engaged in recovery work, sharing information, strategizing about the delivery of services, and discussing opportunities for collaboration. At the same time, LISC Houston executive director Amanda Timm was invited to join the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium. This collective of expert researchers and community organizations is compiling, analyzing and sharing a rich array of data to inform decision makers as they shape policy around flooding risk and mitigation. LISC’s role is to ensure an inclusive approach where the perspective of lower income communities is represented on issues that matter.
LISC knows from its work in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy that the speed of recovery for people in vulnerable economic circumstances has a lasting impact on a city’s ability to mend. An uneven recovery — where some homes go unrepaired, neighborhoods are neglected and businesses struggle to reopen — can weaken a city’s overall health and make it less resilient to future disasters.
“The team at Houston LISC has been incredibly effective advocates for our region’s most vulnerable populations in the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey,” said Kyle Shelton of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research in Houston, a funder for the consortium. “These groups are so often overlooked during recovery and the LISC team has been instrumental in making sure their voices and needs are brought to the table in discussions about everything from major infrastructure projects to the consideration of new policies around flood control.”
As part of its commitment to help neighborhoods rebuild, LISC Houston has also channeled $320,000 to community-based partners working on-the-ground in Houston to support their efforts in providing immediate basic needs and shelter, leading mucking and gutting efforts, providing disaster recovery counseling as well as repairing impacted homes.
LISC has also launched two recovery related initiatives – the Harvey Home Repair Collaborative and the Harvey Jobs Initiative – to support home repair efforts and to connect clients at five Financial Opportunity Centers across Houston to job opportunities. Recovery will take years, but LISC will be there every step of the way to ensure the communities it serves can flourish.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Avenue CDC
Private Sector Support
Public Sector Support
Executive Director: Amanda Timm
1111 North Loop West, Suite 740
Houston, TX 77008