Thank you to our friends at Jewish Family Service for sharing this guide.
How is this flood different from all others floods?
A Guide from Jewish Family Service
During all the other floods, the water receded quickly.
With this flood, the water lingered, and there could be more to come.
During all the other floods, only a few neighborhoods flooded.
With this flood, a good part of the city is impacted.
During all the other floods, we didn’t know what to expect.
With this flood, we know, based on recent experience, that recovery will take time.
But we have confidence that our community is resilient.
We have noticed that with this flood, the preparation learned from previous experiences has allowed a greater since of calm and resolve. The staff of JFS Houston is prepared to assist the community with resources and information.
Here are three steps to take:
1) Call 3-1-1 in order to register your home has flooded. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROCESS, and can affect eligibility for some assistance.
Let your insurance company know in writing that you have a claim. Get a response in writing that they have received your notice. THERE ARE CHANGES TO THE LAW STARTING SEPTEMBER 1 SO TAKE CARE OF THIS RIGHT AWAY.
Reassure yourself, your children and seniors that this difficulty will pass and everything will be all right. Contact JFS for direction and support. Take account of resources and support available as well as next steps.
2) When the waters recede:
Determine where you and your family will be able to stay during the next period of time. Can you stay on your 2nd floor? Do you have a neighbor or family member who can house you for a short period while you “regroup”?
Once all physical needs of your family are taken care of, photograph all the flooded areas of your house and flooded possessions before you begin the clean-up process. Account for important items and things that can be boxed up. Beware of people offering services that seem “too good to be true”. Any official volunteer group (such as All Hands, Nechama, UMCOR, Texas Baptist Men, Church of Latter-Day Saints) that is here to help, will have identification.
There is likely to be resources for assistance in “mucking out” flooded homes (removing carpet and sodden furniture and items.) Things that you should consider saving are photographs which cannot be replaced as they can be dried out and reproduced in some instances. Getting the carpet pulled out of the house is a priority.
3) Know your resources:
There will be cleaning and packing supplies available at the ERJCC as well as through the American Red Cross. JFS will have funds available for shopping for basic clothing and food should you need them. Often neighborhood groups will be organizing meals, assistance and spiritual succor at area places of faith. Contact a Disaster Case Manager at JFS as soon as conditions allow, who will be available to assist.
You will need to register with FEMA; report your flood to the city you live in (3-1-1 for Houston); call your insurance company and be sure to check the JFS website, www.jfshouston.org for these instructions and others. Keep a notebook with all the information you will need.
4) Understand the phases of recovery:
Relief: The initial phase after the water recedes. You will need to secure food, clothing, shelter. Your best resources will be organizations trained to supply relief, such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
Clean Up: Organizing resources to clean up the sodden items in your house. Email email@example.com, who can send you a resource guide.
Organization: Learn the processes of FEMA, flood insurance and city resources. There will no doubt be community gatherings and distribution of information.
Recovery: The weeks and months ahead will allow you to stabilize your situation, return to your typical schedule of school, work and social activities as the process of recovering continues. Your mental health and the mental health of your family survivors is as important to address as are the logistics of rebuilding. JFS encourages you to seek assistance in both areas by seeking counseling or joining a survivors group and identifying yourself as a family or individual needing case management to assist you with the long-term journey ahead of you. In addition, there will be online Facebook groups that can provide a sense of community and be a source of information.
Recovery takes time and reveals along the way the physical challenges of rebuilding and recovering. JFS will be there for you for the long term, in conjunction with our partners United Way, The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.
As in the past, it will take many resources to help those who have flooded.
Here is how you can help:
1. If you are able, please donate to the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Getting financial resources will be the greatest help: Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
2. Purchase gift cards to grocery stores or large retailers like Target, Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Lowes etc. Supply them to JFS, 4131 S. Braeswood Blvd, Houston, Tx 77025. If you want a donation receipt, include a list of the cards donated and their amounts, your name, address and email.
3. If you know of a person who is living in a flooded home in unsafe conditions, encourage them to seek assistance or report that information to 311 and encourage that person to seek safe shelter.
We are here for anyone in SW Houston or the Jewish Community after a disaster, be it fire, flood, hurricane or tornado. Please call our main line: 713-667-9336 and ask for a Disaster Case Manager. JFS can provide:
· Emergency Funding Assistance
· Volunteers to help go through your home with you to sort what will be kept and what should be trashed.
· Volunteers to help you pack
· Contact info for non-profit agencies that may be able to help (muck & gut following water damage; cut down damaged trees; tarp roofs; kosher meals; clothing…)
· Emotional support
· Case Management to help you to recovery and rebuild
If you are outside of our area, we can connect you with other agencies that provide case management in your area.