What the Twister Tore Apart, the Community Pulls Together

August 1, 2011. After the deluge had passed and the streets were no longer rivers, I visited two north side homes.  People have been asking me, “How’s the clean-up going?”

The homes I visited reminded me that although much IS happening, MANY have been left behind. Over the past weeks we’ve had a youth crew working from Sanctuary through the combined efforts of the Northside Community Response Team. They have been going door to door with important information for our neighbors, as well as doing yard work and cleaning.  Their work has turned up stories like the two below.

With water still dripping through the rotting ceiling in multiple places, I was welcomed into the first home by a man who stayed true to his 5 kids when his wife went AWOL years ago.  When a leg injury led to disability, his uncle said he could live in his father’s old home.  Since it was all paid for it, would be a good place for them to call home.  His son has asthma a daughter has diabetes, but they were doing well,  until the tornado ripped up their roof.  He went to Lucy Laney school to learn about the loans available to families for fixing-up their homes.  It was there he learned that the home he thought was his to live in was in foreclosure.   It wasn’t paid for, and now the bank has repossessed it, mold all over and plaster falling off the ceiling.

What was needed?  A few hundred dollars to help pay a damage deposit to get them into a new place.  Help moving would be great, and we have a work team of youth ready to help later this week.  Simple yet profound how a little can help so much, and how refreshing life can become when you can glimpse light at the end of the tunnel.

Then I drove to home #2, this family also had damage to their roof, their garage was destroyed and windows broken.  After the tornado passed he began to work on fixing up the home, knowing the insurance agent would soon come by, but no one came even after repeated calls.  Then he heard unbelievable news; while mortgage company was setting aside an escrow for the insurance, they were NOT paying the bill.  The insurance company claimed they sent letters to him stating they would be dropped if some work was not done.  The requested work was completed on time, but no letters came to either. The insurance that should have been there to help was nothing but a dream.  But the leaking roof is very real; he has retained a lawyer and wonders how he can ever get out from under the cost of needed repairs.  We talked, planned, and strategized, his resilience was amazing.

Thanks to the generosity of many,  Sanctuary CDC and Sanctuary Covenant Church were able to be a “Catalyst of Hope” to each of these families.  The effects of the storm linger, but a community united continues to mitigate the damage while supporting and encouraging the most impacted.  We thank those who continue to partner with us in these ventures; your support of the CDC changes lives.

I originally posted this at the Sanctuary CDC blog, where I am a Program Director of Community Engagement.  


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