Habitat for Humanity to aid Harvey victims

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Sept. 12, 2017 at 9:27 p.m.
Updated Sept. 13, 2017 at 8:19 a.m.

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, speaks with city leaders.

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, speaks with city leaders.   Kathryn Cargo for The Victoria Advocate

In response to Hurricane Harvey, the Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity has initiated a program to help homeowners with repairs.

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, visited with Victoria leaders Tuesday morning to learn about damage in the Crossroads and to show his support.

"We want to signal that Habitat is here for the long term," he said. "We want to remind people with all of the destruction Irma has caused, we have a huge, historic level of repair and recovery work to do after Harvey."

Through a partnership with Victoria's Ashley HomeStore, the Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity will focus on helping homeowners with repairs, including roofs, windows, exterior painting, replacing ramps and minor construction, said Cynthia Staley, executive director of the Golden Crescent nonprofit chapter. Applications for the program will be available online and in the chapter's office until Oct. 12.

Ashley HomeStore will donate a portion of sales to the Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity for the program until Oct. 9, Staley said.

The nonprofit will help Crossroads residents with major repairs in the future depending on funds and volunteers.

"We would love to make that happen," Staley said. "We have a lot of affiliates from around the country that want to volunteer here."

The Golden Crescent of Habitat for Humanity has built 103 houses, about 10 percent of which sustained substantial damage from Harvey, Staley said. Five homes had ceilings collapse and 11 need new roofs.

Habitat homeowners have home insurance, so nonprofit officials are working with them through the insurance process. The nonprofit is also raising money for these homeowners deductibles because they are low-income households.

"Their deductible is a big deal; that's significant for them," Staley said.

The nonprofit is also rolling out a plan to help Habitat homeowners with their mortgages in a way that is compliant with federal regulations. Many spent funds they didn't have to evacuate or prepare for the hurricane.

The local nonprofit is still in the process of building a house this fall and may start another one, Staley said. A recently built house in Cuero was unscathed from the hurricane, and the nonprofit will close on the house with the buyers in the coming weeks.

Next spring, the nonprofit's goal is to build three houses, Staley said.

Habitat for Humanity is aiming to help low income families affected by Harvey across the board and not just Habitat families.

"The giant question is, how much money can we raise?" Reckford said. "The more money we raise, the more families we're going to be able to help."


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