Hardin County Strong is working with volunteers to build new homes from the ground up as well as doing major repair work on damaged homes in an effort to get families back to their new normal post-disaster. Source: Hardin County Strong

A year ago, we completed funding for the first full round of CDP Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund grants. During that round, we focused exclusively on helping long-term recovery groups, committees and teams prepare for what we knew then would be a long and difficult recovery process for all 41 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey.

One year in, I’m impressed by the diligent work of these community leaders and organizations who are focused on supporting the citizens of their towns and counties as they return home and find their new normal. I’d like to share with you some of their work.

Capacity Building: Through the CDP funding they received, the Galveston County Long Term Recovery Group was able to hire staff to help coordinate volunteer groups and construction contractors to help rebuild homes devastated by Harvey’s flooding in Dickinson and surrounding communities. By building their capacity to respond, the recovery in this area is more efficient and effective; it’s also resulting in a more resilient community for the future.

Community Leadership: The Victoria County Long Term Recovery Group (VCLTRG) was newly formed right after Hurricane Harvey, so they were truly starting from scratch. By supporting them from the very start, the CDP grant provided here allowed this group of community leaders to be prepared to accept additional funding and seek partners to work alongside them in their community. By setting up this strong organization for success and connecting them to other sources of funds and partnerships, the VCLTRG has found creative and innovative ways to support citizens of Bloomington, Victoria and surrounding towns with homes that are better suited to withstand a future storm.

Hardin County Strong and Orange County Disaster Rebuilds are two separate long-term recovery groups born out of Harvey and located in the heavily hit “Golden Triangle” of southeast Texas. Through their CDP grants, they too were able to develop plans that have helped set them up for success. And, by partnering with both local and national disaster recovery organizations – and by supporting one another – these two groups have helped Hardin and Orange Counties move forward, in spite of some significant roadblocks.

Trainings and Convenings: We also provided funding for the Disaster Leadership Team, a group of seasoned disaster recovery leaders who work with new and developing long-term recovery groups as mentors, counselors, trainers and guides. They’ve provided one-on-one training for most long-term recovery groups working in the state and have also helped coordinate convenings (that we have also supported) to allow these groups to network with one another and learn best practices for each community’s recovery. They’ve also developed lots of materials that organizations in Texas, and beyond, can use to help them along the way.

These are just some of our long-term recovery group success stories. It makes my big ole Texas heart proud to see the dedication and hard work going into supporting the communities hit hard by Harvey’s wrath. Though there is still much work to do here, I am comforted knowing that the work will be done by competent, creative and dedicated leaders who understand that recovery is hard, and recovery is long . . . but a good recovery results in a resilient community that will be better prepared for the next one.

We remain Texas Strong!