Northwest Assistance Ministries helps community recover, rebuild after Hurricane Harvey

NAM Endowment Fund board chair, Scott Chenoweth, and Terry Aschbacher unload supplies donated for storm victims.[/caption]

Since Hurricane Harvey hit, the nonprofit organization Northwest Assistance Ministries at 15555 Kuykendahl Road, Houston, has accepted four tons of donations and distributed clothing, food and water to more than 120 families, NAM President Carole Little said.

Volunteers have been unloading trucks stocked with supplies, receiving, sorting and distributing donations, she said. The organization plans to obtain local, state and federal funding to support families needing to rebuild their homes.

“Some will come in small amounts quickly, but over the long term we see the need for case management and variety of services including mental health to help people through this,” Little said. “Mental health is huge during a time of disaster. When you lose everything, at first you’re grateful just to have your family and be alive, but the process of rebuilding is not an easy one.”

Little said many local families' homes have been flooded for the second or third time and they are grieving the loss of their homes and belongings.

NAM clients—who are typically families living paycheck to paycheck—have to continue paying rent and utilities on their uninhabitable homes or pay for new homes after sustaining damage, she said.

In April 2016, NAM helped 350 families relocate after the Tax Day flood that occurred in mid-April of that year. For a family of four, this process can cost from $3,000-$7,000. The timeline for helping families recovery after Hurricane Harvey depends on the resources available, Little said.

“Our priorities are seniors, the disabled and families with young children,” she said. “We work through case managers to figure out where they are at and what it will take to get them rehoused to restore the basics, a bed, a table, something to sit on, housewares, something to cook with.”

Brian Carr, chief advancement officer at NAM, said people from across the country have reached out to offer support. Donations of food, water, baby supplies, toiletries and cleaning supplies have poured in, but more will be needed as recovery efforts continue, he said. Cash donations are also being accepted at www.namonline.org.

NAM offers a pediatric clinic, a learning center with vocational training, job placement assistance, a food pantry and other ongoing services. After serving 115,000 people last year, Carr said he expects NAM’s services to increase significantly in the coming weeks.

“We’ve been in the business of providing emergency assistance to families for our whole history of 34 years,” Carr said. “We anticipate that there is going to be a rush over the next couple of weeks in emergency assistance, but there is going to be an ongoing need for recovery and support for this community for months and possibly even years.”
By Danica Lloyd

Editor, Cy-Fair

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2016. As editor, she continues to cover local government, education, health care, real estate, development, business and transportation in Cy-Fair. Her experience prior to CI includes studying at the Washington Journalism Center and interning at a startup incubator in D.C., serving as editor-in-chief of Union University's student magazine and online newspaper, reporting for The Jackson Sun and freelancing for other publications in Arkansas and Tennessee.