Local leaders form Cy-Hope Disaster Recovery Network with focus on long-term Harvey recovery

A new recovery network in Cy-Fair aims to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in the long term.

A new recovery network in Cy-Fair aims to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in the long term.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey—which flooded homes and businesses in Cy-Fair over late August and early September—people throughout the Cy-Fair community joined together in recovery efforts to try to bring the area back to normal.

Now a team of community leaders, led by local nonprofit Cy-Hope, are forming a network of organizations to help Harvey victims in the long term. The Cy-Hope Disaster Recovery Network will be the first of its kind in the Cy-Fair area, said Godfrey Hubert, who serves on the Cy-Hope board of directors and has been a key player in getting the network up and running.

Hubert, who also serves as senior pastor for Foundry United Methodist Church on Jones Road, said Harvey was the fifth 500-year flood to hit Cy-Fair in the 33 years he has been with Foundry.

"We've just come to realize that, for recovery to be complete, it needs to be local," Hubert said. "The face of it has to be local."

In the three weeks since the network was launched, 14 local churches have joined as well as the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce and Cy-Fair ISD said Steve Saunders, the network's executive director. In the past, Saunders has worked with a number of Cy-Fair area nonprofits, including Cypress Assistance Ministries and Cy-Fair Helping Hands.

"The Cy-Fair community needs an organization like this because we don’t have the municipal government or other region specific organization to lead the way during disaster recovery," Saunders said. "The Cy-Fair region’s population is nearly that of Austin, which is the 11th largest city in the U.S. The goal of the network is to provide the community with a unified effort to rebuild from Harvey and be ready to respond to the next disaster."

The network is modeled after similar disaster recovery networks in Texas and Louisiana, Hubert said. Efforts will focus mainly on case management and restoring homes. Hubert said the network will target people for whom FEMA grants are not sufficient and are not able to fund repairs themselves, as opposed to people with flood insurance or people who have the means to pay for their own repairs.

Hubert said true recovery also goes beyond restoring houses and involves providing families with emotional and spiritual support.

Many member organizations are already bringing in visiting work teams from outside of Houston to help as a part of their own efforts. Foundry Church is planning to host 300 volunteers this week, Hubert said.

Saunders said he is currently building the training and leadership programs for the member organizations who will be working with families.

"Next month we hope to be on the ground continuing the work of helping families plan for their recovery and cleaning and drying homes, preparing [them] for rebuild and repair," Saunders said. "The bulk of our work will be in full swing in 2018 as we are helping families rebuild and return to wholeness. This process of returning the region to wholeness will take several years, and we will build the network to be here for the long haul."

The Cy-Hope network has also joined the Harris County Long-Term Recovery Committee and has been participating in meetings on what shape recovery efforts should take moving forward, Hubert said. He said he is hopeful to receive grant money from the county to help fund recovery efforts in Cy-Fair.

"We are poised and ready to move forward with case management and reconstruction," Hubert said. "It's just a matter of receiving marching orders that we’re good to go."

In the meantime, Saunders said the network is in need of monetary donations as it continues to build infrastructure to handle the recovery efforts of hundreds of families. Readers can find updates on Facebook, and organizations interested in becoming members can send inquiries online.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

The new Fort Bend Epicenter multipurpose facility could be used as a spot for trade shows and sporting events, could act as a large-scale shelter for county residents in an emergency and more. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Large multipurpose complex coming to Fort Bend County; Sugar Land to widen University Blvd. and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Greater Houston Builders Association President Keith Luechtefeld discusses power, plumbing, frozen pipes after Winter Storm Uri

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather.

Harris County ESD No. 11 commissioners met for a meeting Feb. 25. (Courtesy Cypress Creek EMS)
Harris County ESD No. 11 begins construction process on new facility

District offiicials have said they hope Phase 1 of construction will be complete by August.

Winter Storm Uri led to closures across the Greater Houston area during the third week of February. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
‘It’s been a rough year for us’: Expert explains economic effects of winter storm, ongoing pandemic in Houston region

“It's been a rough year for us economically; it's been a rough year for us public health wise. It's just been a rough year for us psychologically—first the coronavirus and then the freeze," said Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.

The $560 million central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)
Parking garage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to be demolished to make way for new Mickey Leland International Terminal

The international central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

Emerging technology and alternative energy sectors could help ease the blow of an oil and gas industry downturn in Houston caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Houston-area economist said. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Greater Houston area could see economic relief from pandemic around mid-2021, economist says

Emerging technology and alternative-energy sectors could help ease the blow of the downturn in Houston's oil and gas industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harris County continues to report more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cy-Fair area. (Community Impact staff)
Cy-Fair surpasses 50,000 total confirmed COVID-19 cases since start of pandemic

Although Cy-Fair has reported more than 50,000 cases of the coronavirus as of this week, active cases in the community have been on the decline since the start of the month.