40 homes for Hurricane Harvey survivors are being built through donations and volunteer labor
AUSTIN, Texas — Forty Victoria County families whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey will soon trade their damaged homes for brand new ones in a neighborhood built for Harvey survivors, Hope Meadows.
“We had a vision [to] get land and build a whole subdivision that would give people a hand up in life when they lost everything,” said Mark Longoria, president of the Victoria County Long-Term Recovery Group, or LTRG. “That’s why we’re here today, seeing this wonderful place be put up.”
Longoria was involved in Victoria and Calhoun counties’ recovery from the first days after Harvey. In addition to planning and raising money for Hope Meadows, he has guided the LTRG in assisting nearly 600 families with home rebuilds, repairs and other items totaling $3 million.
“When Harvey hit, we were like, ‘Where do we go from here? How do we pick up the pieces and rebuild?’” Longoria recalled. “We had FEMA come and [nonprofit] Disaster Leadership Team come … and showed me a framework of what long-term recovery looks like and can accomplish when done right.”
As an example of what recovery looks like, FEMA sent Longoria and other recovery volunteers to a housing development in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, which was established after severe storms there in 2016. Using the West Virginia subdivision as a model, the Victoria County LTRG set out to turn Hope Meadows into reality.
The LTRG raised $4.6 million in donations for Hope Meadows, including $1.4 million from nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse to purchase the land and build infrastructure. The last piece —$2 million worth of construction labor — is being provided free of charge by volunteers from groups like Disaster Aid Ohio and Mennonite Disaster Services.
“When volunteers come and help build houses, hang sheetrock, all that stuff, it makes a dollar stretch so we can help more families,” Longoria said. “That’s what happens when good people come together to make a dream come true to help those in need.”
The first residents of Hope Meadows are expected to move in by Thanksgiving, with one home completed each week thereafter. To view the eligibility criteria and application for Hope Meadows, visit the LTRG’s website, https://victorialtrg.org.
For additional information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the Hurricane Harvey disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4332, Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMAHarvey, the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at www.twitter.com/FEMARegion6 or the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at https://tdem.texas.gov/.