Our hearts have been touched by the harrowing scenes of destruction and trauma experienced by millions in the past few weeks. Heroic rescue efforts saved many lives. Many of us have already responded generously to provide much needed immediate relief. Our fellow citizens in Florida and Texas and beyond are now entering the harrowing and exhausting time of recovery. Though Hurricanes Irma and Harvey hit rich and poor alike, rich and poor will not have equal opportunities for recovery in the months and years ahead.
“In rich countries, the most vulnerable groups are still the ones who suffer the most in the aftermath of a natural disaster.” These at-risk people include renters, those who are poor, those with disabilities, as well as immigrants who are here illegally. For example, many low-income families simply cannot afford the serious costs of evacuating – gas, hotels, food etc. Many families will be unable to rebuild or return to their homes. Or if they do return, they will have to go back to work immediately and have no time or means of repairing their homes. Many will end up displaced, in new communities or a different state, often where they have no job, no family, and no community supports.
Recognizing the need for long-term recovery, donations are needed which support existing community-based organizations that target these vulnerable groups of people. We’ve identified a few of these organizations. You can follow the links below to learn about each of these groups and to make your contributions.
In Texas and Louisiana:
Project Restore: This project in southwestern Louisiana seeks to restore housing to at least 50 families who have lost their home and do not have the resources to rebuild. It will be managed through Future Sons of America, a non-profit with a mission to “Educate, empower and equip males with tools necessary for individualized success”. For information on their project see, https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/e01dba_204b2008e07146ed8fcb351173803a5f.pdf
To donate to Project Restore: https://www.futuresonsofamerica.org/the-restore-project
Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group: The mission of this group is to strengthen long term recovery by addressing unmet, disaster-related needs of individuals in the community. They do this work by soliciting money, manpower and material donations for case management, repair or reconstruction of homes, living necessities lost from disaster, and spiritual/emotional care resources.
To donate to Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group: http://www.cbcfoundation.org/?page_id=5354
Hurricane Irma Community Recovery Fund: This fund will focus on recovery in Florida through an existing foundation and a variety of grassroots community organizations. These organizations work with historically marginalized communities. Florida has over 3 million residents who live in poverty, and an estimated 850,000 undocumented immigrants across Florida may be fearful of accessing needed government resources due their immigration status. Services will include basic needs such as housing, healthcare, transportation, legal representation and longer term organizing. To view the partner organizations, see http://newfloridamajority.org/wp/get-involved/donate/irmacommunityrecoveryfund/
To donate to Hurricane Irma Community Recovery Fund: http://newfloridamajority.org/wp/get-involved/donate/irmacommunityrecoveryfund/
Both Florida and Texas
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies: This organization facilitates projects involving people with disabilities, including physical and medical disabilities and those with language barriers. It also supports and promotes disaster preparedness and recovery efforts. To learn more about its programming: http://www.portlight.org/latest-portlight-announcement.html
To donate to Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies: http://www.portlight.org/home.html
Team Rubicon: Team Rubicon is an international non-profit disaster response organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy disaster response teams, free of charge to communities affected by disasters across the country. Team Rubicon currently maintains a roster of 35,000+ volunteers able to deploy throughout the United States. Team Rubicon currently has active responses in both Texas and Florida. To learn more about Team Rubicon, go to: https://teamrubiconusa.org/story-of-team-rubicon/
To donate to Team Rubicon: https://teamrubiconusa.org/
Together, we WILL make a difference!
 White, Gillian B., The Atlantic. Aug.3, 2015.