September 5, 2017

The Harvey Community Recovery Fund | Putting Experience to Work

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Recover Today, Rebuild Tomorrow

Like you, I have watched heart-wrenching scenes of children, their families and seniors struggling with fear, loss and uncertainty in the wake of Harvey’s devastation across parts of Texas and Louisiana. Tens of thousands of families have been displaced from their homes and don’t know when – or to what conditions – they will return.

Recovery and rebuilding will be a long and arduous effort – particularly for families already struggling on the margins of the economy.

At these times, it’s easy to feel powerless. Yet I am reassured by the knowledge that many strong and committed nonprofit organizations, government representatives and business leaders are striving to meet the direct and immediate needs of families and their communities.

We have supported housing and community organizations on the ground before, during and after the crucial recovery and rebuilding phases. And we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and do it again, partnering with residents and community groups, housing organizations, and the nonprofit, private and public sectors. 

Following Hurricane Katrina, we became the leading provider of affordable homes in the Gulf Coast, investing nearly $400 million to help rebuild homes and communities. On the policy front, we achieved congressional action to extend tax-credit funding through the Gulf Opportunity Zone, making thousands of additional affordable homes possible. (I’ll share more on our post-Harvey policy recommendations tomorrow.)

When Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, we provided long-term recovery and planning funding to community groups in New Jersey and all five New York boroughs, and helped create a Sandy Neighborhood Design Helpdesk. After last year’s Louisiana floods, we supported the organizations leading the recovery.

Building on this experience, Enterprise has launched the Harvey Community Recovery Fund to respond to the storm’s short-, mid- and long-term needs, with a goal to raise $10 million. We are rolling out the fund with $500,000 and will begin making grants immediately while we identify additional sources.

To begin, the fund will support nonprofits serving displaced low-income residents and doing the necessary hard work of cleaning up neighborhoods, house by house and block by block in the storm-damaged areas of South Texas; the Houston metro area; Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas, and Southwest Louisiana.

Lessons learned also will shape our efforts to ensure communities receive adequate, appropriate federal resources. We also will provide consultation to cities and states designing and developing disaster recovery programs.

Our technical resources will help support mold remediation and other clean-up efforts, emergency planning, and storm-resilient design, construction and building operations. We will make these tools and trainings widely available to support what will be a herculean effort to repair and rebuild the single and multifamily homes pummeled by Harvey. 

And when the time is right for rebuilding, we will develop critical storm-damage analyses and demographic community profiles to shape and drive the rebuilding process. We will help guide and support nonprofits as they adjust their business operations to tackle rebuilding while creating unique financial tools that generate new private-sector capital to fill market gaps and meet the needs of low- and moderate-income families.

It’s been said that Hurricane Harvey will transform a generation. We must act now to ensure that the storm’s scars create resilience rather than desperation. We must do everything in our power to connect people to not just safety but opportunity.  

Recover today, rebuild tomorrow. We’re in it for the long haul in the Gulf Coast, and we’re in it for good. Please join us with your support.

Email Harvey@enterprisecommunity.org for information about applying for a grant from the Harvey Community Recovery Fund.