Hurricane Harvey Long Term Local Relief
- Help rebuild and keep the Nottingham Park Community Library open
- Provide ongoing support to families affected by Hurricane Harvey
- Ensure all children in our community have access to essential resources and opportunities
Impact of Hurricane Harvey on our Community
FamilyPoint Resources is located in the OutReach Center of West Houston. In 2012, FamilyPoint opened a community library at the Center which has become a major hub in our community. Everyday after school there are about 130 students, from elementary through high school, who come to the space for a healthy snack, homework help, and to play in a safe space with caring adults. The library is home to over 8,000 books, a computer lab, and games. It also houses all of our summer enrichment programs. This is where parents register their children to play sports throughout the year. Over the years, the resources and relationships available at FamilyPoint have been an incentive for families to stay in this area, creating much needed stability for many families.
During Harvey, the entire east side of the building took on water through leaks, leaving a few inches of water in our library and office. We were able to save all the books and computers, but had to pull out drywall and rip up carpet. In the coming weeks, we need to repair the walls, finish the floors, get new bookshelves, and put everything back to together. The space available for us to serve our community has been significantly reduced, but we remain open as a place for children to gather after school, we will continue to practice soccer, run cross country, and in a few weeks we will register children for basketball and baseball in the spring. We will still create time to help children with their homework and ensure they have a healthy snack each day after school. We will continue to serve our community and we will grow stronger together through these difficult days.
In order to flourish in the midst of challenging circumstances children need resources and opportunities that lead to a positive change in their circumstances. For some of the children, FamilyPoint is where they met their first friend, where they played baseball for the first time, and where they first received help with homework. We have been able to meet these needs and build these relationships through the amazing generosity and love of our neighbors. There are incredible people who have looked on the other side of their fence and opened up gates that allow resources to be shared, ensuring that every child in our community is loved and supported. Right now, these fences are underwater and our entire community is needing resources.
We are located along Memorial, near Buffalo Bayou and downstream from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. The overall rainfall from Hurricane Harvey and the continuous release of water from both reservoirs has left the majority of homes between Memorial and Briar Forest inundated with water. These are homes of families that coach our teams, volunteer to help with homework after school, and support FamilyPoint throughout the year. Turkey Creek, which feeds into Buffalo Bayou, is also over its bank causing the entire Live Oak Apartment complex to flood. A number of homes and the entire Sheffield Square Apartment complex were without electricity for at least 9 days because a sub station is under water. These are homes to children who play on our teams, hang out with us after school, and attend schools we serve. Our hearts are heavy with sadness as we talk and walk with our supporters and participants through the devastation in our community. There is no normal for us until there is no longer contaminated water in our streets and homes. Even once the water recedes we still have a long road to recovery as we muck out homes and begin to rebuild.
The impact of Hurricane Harvey will take years for us to measure. Currently we are talking with families to assess needs, providing a safe space for children in our community to gather, and volunteering to help our neighbors demo and clean their homes. We are connecting with local churches and other organizations for the necessary supplies for this stage of relief. We are focusing on loving people right where they are in the midst of this tragedy.
We are also discussing the economic impact of Harvey, as many of the families we serve have lost wages, cannot get to work due to flooded streets, or no longer have work due to the flooding. In a community that is already vulnerable, Hurricane Harvey can be devastating to the stability of our families and our community as the threat of joblessness and eviction is very real. FamilyPoint serves an amazingly diverse community, representing over 26 nations, though many of the families living in the area are under-served and under-resourced. Roughly 85% of the families in the Nottingham Park Area are considered low-income, a little over 50% are single parent households, and over two dozen are refugee families from Africa and the Middle East. On a regular basis many of our families struggle with financial stress, unable to know for certain if they will be able to pay rent, bills, transportation, gas, or pay for food each month. They also feel stress around time, safety, relationships, and communication; all resources that help individuals and families to thrive. These challenges shape the environment where children live and these stresses accumulate to negatively impact the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development of children. A common result is that children start school behind, find it difficult to catch up, and give up on themselves and their future, ultimately loosing hope. FamilyPoint provides opportunities, not otherwise available, to children so they can flourish with hope.
FamilyPoint is the children we serve, who would not otherwise have opportunities to play sports, explore the arts, and receive after school enrichment. We also are the volunteers, donors, businesses, and community leaders, who support us and help us provide essential resources to our families. We are a community that is rich because we have the ability to come together and walk with one another toward a better future. We have hope because their is ongoing relief in the relationships that connect our lives and build our futures.
Our entire community needs help to flourish in the midst of these challenging circumstances and we need your support. All support to FamilyPoint Resources will go into General Funds to be used in the area of greatest need.