Accelerating hurricane recovery in southwest Louisiana

“Stability is everything to Daniel. You have no idea what this means to our family.” – Becky, the sister of an SBP client

Daniel (pictured here) is a native Louisianan who has lived in Vinton for most of his life. He has intellectual and developmental disabilities and some physical limitations, so his sister, Becky, who lives only a few miles away, cares for him.

In August 2020, Daniel and Becky evacuated as Hurricane Laura, a powerful Category 4 storm, churned toward Louisiana. They returned home days later to find Daniel’s house in complete disrepair and unlivable. Daniel moved in with Becky, but even then, the family was forced to live without power for several weeks.

Living on a fixed income, Daniel didn’t have homeowners insurance and couldn’t afford to repair his home on his own, so SBP stepped in to help. With support from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, SBP removed and replaced the home’s moldy insulation and drywall, repaired damaged subflooring, installed vinyl plank flooring, replaced the windows, and repaired damaged siding on the exterior.

After SBP completed the repairs, Becky said: “Stability is everything to Daniel. You have no idea what this means to our family.”

Hurricane Laura caused catastrophic damage when it came ashore near Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Aug. 27, 2020. It killed at least 77 people and caused at least $8 billion-12 billion in damages. CDP awarded a grant from the Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund to SBP to support their SHARE program and serve at least nine families in Louisiana by rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Laura and Sally.

Throughout 2021, CDP’s support drove meaningful, far-reaching results for 10 hurricane-affected families in southwest Louisiana (SWLA). SBP granted $50,000 to two partners, All Hands and Hearts and Fuller Center, who each rebuilt five homes. Altogether, the grant from CDP allowed 23 family members to finally recover from the devastation of Hurricane Laura. SBP’s partners leveraged 18,468 volunteer hours from 441 volunteers, stretching CDP’s support to reach more families in need.

The support also allowed SBP to remain on the ground in SWLA, which led to its identification of disparities in FEMA awards in low-income communities. SBP then partnered with United Way of Southwest Louisiana to host a series of FEMA Appeals Clinics, a first-of-its-kind program that has led to significant increases in awards. In 2021, SBP helped 60 clients file for FEMA assistance or appeals in SWLA and returned $218,379 in additional funding to repair their homes.

CDP is proud to support SBP’s mission to shrink the time between disaster and recovery and accelerate equity for families whose homes and lives were devastated by hurricanes.

*This impact story was adapted from content submitted by SBP.

(Photo: SBP’s Disaster Corps helping a homeowner clear their home before performing mold suppression. Source: SBP)