The NAM Connection is designed to keep the community up to date on happenings at Northwest Assistance Ministries. NAM is a multi-program, non-denominational social service agency located in Houston, Texas. NAM served more than 100,000 individuals throughout more than 130 zip codes during our last fiscal year. www.namonline.org
The Snowball Effect After Hurricane Harvey
Relief Assistance Statistics for Northwest Assistance Ministries
Phase I Relief Stats – 7413+
individuals rec’d food, clothing, cleaning and hygiene items, baby items
Phase II Recovery Stats -2073
individuals rec’d rent/mortgage assistance, furniture, help with car repairs,
The Snowball Effect after
While the sun is shining and cooler weather befalls many
this first week in October, a cloud looms over many survivors as they try to put their lives back together, one piece at
This week I spoke with Mr. & Mrs. M who moved to Houston
three years ago from Oklahoma when their son won a full scholarship to the
University of Houston. Mrs. M. works for Hobby Lobby and Mr. M was about to
begin a new job on August 29th with a mortgage lending firm. They
are both in their late 50’s and other than their son, they have no relatives
living in the Houston area.
While their second - floor apartment did not flood, they
lost both their vehicles when flood waters rose to their car roof tops in
Spring, TX where they reside. One vehicle was older and only had liability
insurance, making it a total loss. The second vehicle was less than a year old
and while it had full coverage, the insurance company informed Mr. M that since
they had not purchased GAP insurance, they were upside down on the vehicle.
Mrs. M is positive they purchased gap insurance but is
unable to locate a copy of the sales contract. One month later, she is still waiting
for the dealership to send her a copy. In the interim, the insurance company
settled the loan based on the current value of the vehicle which left them
still owing $1800 in car payments on the loan for a car they cannot afford to
fix and cannot sell until they pay off the loan.
On August 28th, they reached out to FEMA for help
with their vehicles. Since the vehicles flooded while parked at home, they were
told to apply for residential assistance. After waiting a week, they were
denied. Then they were told by FEMA to apply for an SBA loan to pay for the
difference owed on the vehicle. After the list of documents needed to process
the request for help kept growing and changing, three weeks after Harvey they
were again denied assistance. They were told to apply for commercial assistance
through FEMA. They are still waiting.
To compound their situation, Mr. M’s new employer notified
him on August 29th that a hiring freeze had been initiated due to
the disaster. Since he had not completed the new hire paperwork, Mr. M now
finds himself unemployed during a period of uncertainty for many local
businesses. Mr. M is a diabetic and was counting on the insurance benefits that
were promised with the new job.
When the $160.00 electric bill came due, they had no money
to pay it as Mrs. M lost almost a full week of work after Harvey. She applied
for disaster unemployment assistance. Since Hobby Lobby reopened, she has
relied on Uber to get back and forth to work each day. There is no public
transportation in Spring, Texas.
They contacted Harris County Social Services for help with
the light bill. The appointment was at the NAM satellite location where NAM
provides free space to the county agency. After assisting them with the utility
bill, the HCSS caseworker referred their case to NAM’s Relief case manager for
help with September’s rent as they were already past due and facing eviction. NAM assisted with a full rent payment of
$1050 for September. The couple also received information on Disaster Relief
Food Stamps for two months which they have already applied for and received.
Mr. & Mrs. M. are truly grateful for the help received
for rent, utilities and food at NAM but they worry because October is now due
and they still have no car. Mr. M. is still without work and October’s bills
are coming due. They were reassured when they heard they could return to NAM if
FEMA denied help with the $1800.
With the help of volunteers from PV Fluids and private
individuals that stepped in to help with clerical, many families that were
waiting for appointments, are now scheduled and with a grant from the Hamill
Foundation, NAM will have two additional case managers beginning today to assist the
hundreds of families like Mr. & Mrs. M who remain just a week away from becoming
While NAM has now raised funding to last at least six months
to assist survivors, due to the overwhelming number of pending applications for
Flood Relief, the number of daily applications NAM can accept has been reduced
from 50/day to 25/day until the back log of cases can be processed.
congregation or company can send one volunteer, one day this month to
NAM’s assistance department, Meals on Wheels, Food Pantry or Resale store to help us speed up the process to help neighbors in need
, click on this link: www.namonline.org
and click on I want to volunteer.
If you do not have time but still wish to help, your
tax-deductible contribution will truly make a difference to a neighbor in need.
Donations may be mailed to:
Northwest Assistance Ministries
15555 Kuykendahl Road RM 255
Houston, TX 77090
Together we are building opportunities for families to recover, one day at a time,
Today I sat in with the one case manager we have assigned to Flood Relief. The phone rang nonstop, the cases were piled high on the shelf behind her, others were stacked on the chair next to her.
Her first interview was with Mrs. A, a woman in her 30's that lives in a one bedroom trailer with her husband and her son. She showed us videos of the water rushing in to the trailer, of their one vehicle under water and when we asked her where she and her family went until the waters receded, she said they never left. When she was asked if they had removed the carpet and sheet rock along with all the other items that had been flooded, she said they don't belong to her so they can't remove them. The owner has not come to make repairs.
When asked why she didn't look for somewhere else to live, she said the rents have all gone up since the flood and they can not afford to move. They were barely getting by with the lights and the rent where they are. She went on to describe how …
Today Mr. and Mrs. L came to NAM for help to unravel the complicated situation they now find themselves almost six weeks after Harvey. They have two children, both work and bought their first home four years ago after saving a significant down payment. They knew the house had flooded a bit in 2001 during Tropical storm Allison, so in addition to home owner's insurance, they carried flood insurance as well.
Harvey hit three months after they had just finished renovating their family home and replacing all their furniture from the tax
day floods in 2016. This time - the water hit the six foot mark and they lost everything, including their two cars.. They have not lived in their home since August 27th. Yet they continue to make mortgage, insurance and tax payments while the family of four lives with Mrs. L's mother in her spare bedroom.
After waiting five weeks, they rec'd a letter from the City
inspector stating the house
needs to be demolished and rebuilt. Fema has denie…