Long-term recovery to continue for years to come in affected communities along Texas coastline
AUSTIN, TX (August 13, 2018) – The Salvation Army continues to provide long-term recovery services to residents whose lives were forever changed after Hurricane Harvey. Making landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane in late August 2017, Harvey devastated much of the Texas coastline. The storm initially hit the Coastal Bend area causing widespread damage and flooding in Corpus Christi, Rockport, Port Aransas and the surrounding communities. The following days saw similar impact along more than 300 miles of coastline before Harvey stalled over Houston, causing widespread flooding in the city and in the Beaumont area.
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) immediately responded on August 25 providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders. In addition to local units in the path of the hurricane, trained disaster teams from throughout Texas and beyond staged in San Antonio and deployed in the aftermath of the storm. At the peak of service, 103 Salvation Army mobile feeding units were working in affected areas delivering almost 1 million meals, 33,000 food boxes, 92,000 comfort kits and 15,000 cleanup kits in the months after the storm.
Thanks to the generous support of the American public, corporate donors, and philanthropic organizations, The Salvation Army raised more than $30 million for Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts. The Austin area alone raised more than $2.2 million from individuals, foundations, organizations and corporations. The long-term recovery of storm survivors, with their many and varied needs, is an ongoing focus for the Army, and is where the bulk of donated funding is allocated.
“Hurricane Harvey required a response and ongoing recovery efforts from The Salvation Army not seen in Texas since Hurricane Katrina,” said Lt. Colonel Ronnie Raymer, Commander of the Texas Division of The Salvation Army. “The immediate response of our Emergency Disaster teams was swift and effective. We were able to provide practical assistance in the form of a hot meal, a drink, perhaps a cleanup kit, and an encouraging word and prayer to many thousands of people who overnight found themselves in crisis. It was such a blessing to be told, ‘Thank you, I knew The Salvation Army would come’ by those in affected communities. However, though the flood water has long receded and much of the debris is gone, the recovery for many is going to take a long time.”
Of the total donated, The Salvation Army has spent more than $12 million on emergency response operations, including the deployment of 103 mobile kitchens and EDS teams for up to eight weeks. During response operations, The Salvation Army provided:
- Almost 1 million meals, drinks and snacks
- 92,000 comfort/hygiene kits
- More than 15,000 cleanup kits.
- 140,000 hours of employee and volunteer service
- Emotional and spiritual care to 57,000 individuals
- Emergency financial aid to thousands of families with assistance such as gift cards, vouchers to Salvation Army Family Stores and referrals for a variety of services.
All the while, The Salvation Army continued to operate its regular programs and services, providing meals, emergency shelter, clothing and energy assistance to residents in need who were not affected by the disaster.
“Salvation Army disaster teams from as far as Hawaii, Canada and California were deployed to serve in Texas, along with units from our neighboring states. Teams served for 14 days at a time and worked tirelessly to provide much-needed relief to those affected. This is a testament to the dedication and scope of The Salvation Army,” said Lt. Colonel Raymer. “For many of those we helped, this was the worst day of their lives. The Salvation Army works to provide for not only the physical needs of a person, but also the spiritual needs. We will continue to serve our neighbors whenever and wherever there is need.”
As the disaster response has transitioned from immediate response to long-term recovery services, The Salvation Army continues to support families affected by Harvey and to help rebuild communities. The Salvation Army has committed the balance of the total donated, $18 million, to long-term recovery, including the following:
- Supporting long-term recovery case management and direct aid for disaster survivors
- Opening and operating eight warehouses to serve as points of distribution in affected area
- Programs to help disaster survivors replace furnishings, appliances and general household goods
- Providing building materials to assist homeowners in repairing damage to homes
The Salvation Army caseworkers are meeting with those in affected areas providing financial assistance and referrals to partner agencies and non-governmental organizations. Eight warehouses serving as points of distribution across the affected region have been opened and these facilities are receiving, sorting and distributing a wide range of items that have been donated to The Salvation Army to help survivors.
Special efforts have been made by The Salvation Army to reach into underserved areas of Texas affected by Harvey, working closely with local community advocates and agencies. Four Regional Recovery Program Managers have been hired to oversee these efforts and to network with partner agencies to provide Salvation Army support and assistance.
“The Salvation Army, motivated by the love of God and with a mission to meet human need, provides service in every zip code in Texas and is committed to stand by its brand promise “Doing the Most Good,” as individuals and families continue to put life back together,” said Lt. Colonel Raymer. “We were there long before the hurricane hit, and we’ll be there long after the recovery process is over.”
To support the ongoing work of The Salvation Army or for more information go to www.salvationarmytexas.org/harvey/
About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services
“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” While every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs, the core of The Salvation Army’s disaster program consists of several basic services. And while these services address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor, Salvation Army disaster relief is also flexible. Our services are adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and scalable according to the magnitude of the disaster.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 129 years in the Austin area. Locally thousands of people receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, to relief for disaster victims, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to those experiencing homelessness and case management to help people move from crisis to self-sufficiency. Eighty-three cents of every dollar The Salvation Army Austin spends is used to support those services in Travis and Williamson counties. For more information, go to SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org, Facebook.com/SalvationArmyAustin, Twitter.com/SalArmyAustin or Instagram.com/SalArmyAustin/