Hurricane Harvey made landfall on 23 August 2017. The hurricane produced a peak rain accumulations of 51.88 in (1,318 mm), Harvey is the wettest tropical hurricane on record in the contiguous United States. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. Harvey caused at least 70 confirmed deaths in the United States. FEMA director Brock Long called Harvey the worst disaster in Texas history, and expected the recovery to take many years. Economic losses are preliminarily estimated at between $70 to $200 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners. Only about 27 percent of Harvey's losses are likely to be covered by private insurance, lower than the typical 40 percent coverage Hurricane Harvey has impacted about 6.8 million people in Texas, about a quarter of the state's population. Hunter expects flood damage alone from the storm to cost at least $35 billion, about what Katrina cost. But in that 2005 hurricane about half of flooded homes were covered by flood insurance. With Harvey, only two of 10 homeowners have coverage. Homeowners without flood insurance can possibly apply for federal disaster relief benefits, but those come in the form of low interest loans, a burden for those already struggling with too much debt. That means, "If you have $30,000 in damages, you can get maybe $25,000, but there will be interest, and then you have your mortgage. You'll have two loans on your house."
Winter Storm URI has brought yet more destruction to the people of Texas and Louisiana. Thousands of homes have been damaged because of frozen and broken pipes. So many people are unable to find a plumber or, worse, pay for a plumber's services. That is where Pathfinder Mission comes in. We have applied for a grant from the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund (HHC-WSRF). Please pray with us for favorable consideration.
What might FEMA assistance cover?
There are grants available to cover temporary housing if their current home is uninhabitable or they were forced to evacuate. Plus, there is assistance available for repairs. This includes windows, floors, foundation, roof, walls, ceilings, furnace and air conditioning systems, and septic or sewage systems.
The maximum grant in 2013 was $31,900 with the average grant closer to $5,000.If a homeowner accepts a grant from FEMA, they must take out federal flood insurance in order to be eligible for future assistance.
Other forms of assistance include low interest loans from the Small Business Association (SBA) and smaller grants from the Red Cross and Salvation Army. For all assistance, insurance payouts and other forms of financial assistance are factored in to the eligibility consideration.
Forging Strategic Partnerships : The Lord initially led us to Pasadena, Texas to Clearpoint Church and Pastor Brian Lambert through our Board president, Lisa Shaw. As in time's past, the Lord used Clearpoint as a stepping stone to our helping in areas throughout the Houston Metroplex.
Types of Work : Since the flooding in most homes was typically less than 4 feet with little or no roof damage, most of our work is replacement of drywall and insulation, painting, flooring installation, interior doors, and cabinets. In the cases where electric in the walls was compromised, we must engage an electrician licensed in Texas and registered in the city where the home is located. We are doing a good bit of foundation and roof work using local contractors.
In fact, the Lord has connected us to Christian Electrical, HVAC, and Plumbing contractors.
Fund Raising : Our ministry has always been about helping those who cannot get help but have a legitimate need for help. Most often that help is in the form of materials and labor. In nearly every case the people do not receive enough money to pay for labor and materials. We raise money on a case by case basis to assist them. We could not help everyone, but we will help those that the Lord provides resources for. Knowing who they are requires discernment and much prayer.
Houston Responds. Nearly since I had arrived, the Director of Houston Responds asked that we help 6 faith-based coalitions in the Houston metro-plex as a construction and volunteer advisor. In March 2019, after much prayer, I agreed to partner with Houston Responds. Through this relationship, the Lord is multiplying our impact and ability to help those in need.
United Way: In the Spring of 2020, we applied for and was granted funding to help home owners that were not physically or financially able to repair their homes. During the course of the year Pathfinder repaired over 30 homes using United Way and other grants. Winter Storm URI has brought more devastation to Texas and Louisiana. Combined with the impact of the COVID pandemic, people have good reason to struggle with having any hope for help. We have applied for additional grants that would allow us to give them some hope for a better future. Because of COVID, it is difficult to recruit volunteers with the necessary skills and so we will continue to use contractor labor. God provides.