Responding to Houston beyond immediate relief

by Kirk Craig

Thank you to all who prayed, served, and donated toward Agape Development’s immediate disaster relief efforts. Agape Development staff delivered food and water to families during the storm and aftermath when many households ran out of food and were cut off from grocery stores, many of which were closed. Many neighborhoods throughout the Houston area continue to struggle to meet these basic needs. For our neighboring families, the streets are drying up, the stores are opening up, the immediate crisis is ending, and now we begin recovering what was lost during the storm. Our community experienced minimal but some home flood damage, car flooding, and substantial lost wages through work stoppage.

Our staff continue to communicate directly with our neighbors about what is needed. For many, September 1 looms around the corner as a financial deadline: rents, mortgages, car loans, cell phone bills, and any debt repayments are due. One mother worried about money said, “I’m not going to have any hours on my next check.” For low-income and working poor families, hourly employment during a natural disaster means forgoing income. Already, 78% of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck, regardless of income level, so we know that 5-10 days of lost wages can spur further financial strain. Late fees, insufficient funds penalties, or the stress of predatory payday and title lending can turn a temporary crisis into a long term burden.

For Agape Development, our biggest Hurricane Harvey recovery needs revolve around minor home repair and bridging the financial gap to prevent long term financial damage for families. Thankfully, many organizations and agencies are beginning to provide resources, and we are compiling the information to educate and empower our neighbors.

Agape Development is also starting our fall programs with a mission to prepare Christ-following, independent, community leaders. We believe this is the best long term solution for families in financial strain. While much of Houston does need emergency relief, our biggest need is to fulfill annual programming resources: meals at evening events, supplies for activities, volunteers who will serve weekly, and ongoing operational financial support.

If you would like to financially support the remaining recovery efforts we are conducting or support our fall programs to empower our neighborhood, please click relief.agapedevelopment.org

If you are interested in personally serving in our mission to transform the neighborhood, check out our volunteer opportunities or email volunteer@agapedevelopment.org

To bring needed program supplies or meals, visit our needs list.

If you want to give or serve in ways that address the ongoing crisis caused by Hurricane Harvey, please find one of many reputable relief or disaster related organizations serving Houston now.

Kirk Craig is a TxCCDN board member and the Executive Director of Agape Development, located in Houston’s Third Ward.

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