A community rallies together to repair a hurricane-ravaged home

Mrs. Azebell Anderson is a 78-year-old widow. Hurricane Harvey took everything she had in her home. During the storm, her home flooded to her knees before she was rescued by firefighters. It wasn’t long before her new reality hit.

For the next two months, Mrs. Anderson lived in a hotel provided by FEMA. Having been in her home for 47 years, she wanted to return there as quickly as possible.

The federally-funded PREPS program performed some work on Mrs. Anderson’s home to make it more livable, but there was still a lot of work to be done. She did not know how to respond, for she was unable to work and to make repairs. The Galveston County community, however, was rallying together to help all those in need.

Mrs. Anderson’s case was discovered after she made a humble call seeking repairs. Fuller Rebuilders, a close partner of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston (CCGH), heard the call. They quickly responded and recognized the extent of the damage. They also recognized her resourcefulness.

Mrs. Anderson, on her own, found volunteers, family, and friends who could help her muck and gut her home. She also used well the resources at her disposal. She used FEMA funds to have insulation installed and drywall replaced. Volunteers salvaged a dining table, a single dining chair and an old armchair, which Mrs. Anderson had used as her bed since the storm.

Yet even with Mrs. Anderson’s good efforts, Fuller Rebuilders recognized more needs. There was no air conditioning and mold was still present. Repairs were needed for doors, floors, cabinets, walls, bathrooms, bedrooms and the kitchen. Fuller Rebuilders contacted CCGH to begin case management and relayed the needs to the case manager.

The case manager found an extended-stay hotel where Mrs. Anderson could live while the home was being repaired. Fuller Rebuilders put in new floors, repaired and painted the walls, and ensured that the electrical and plumbing were all in safe, working order.

The case manager was able to secure funds not only for the hotel stay and the construction supplies but also for new furniture. The funds to refurnish Mrs. Anderson’s home came from a nonprofit partner, High Socks for Hope, which provided a full dining room set and a new bed.

Mrs. Anderson is a resilient woman, and she proved it by her efforts to get her life back in order on her own. Fuller Rebuilders, CCGH and others recently joined together to celebrate her return to her home. She is incredibly grateful for the work offered to her by CCGH and our partner agencies.