It has been more than 36 hours after massive flooding crippled parts of Texas and Oklahoma and Jewish organizations in Houston are beginning to evaluate the impact of the storm in order to determine which areas are in need of assistance.
“It’s hard to get the big assessment because people are still letting us know what they need,” said Suzanne Jacobson, the senior vice president of development for the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. The federation has raised more than $25,000 so far toward relief efforts through its donation page, houstonjewish.org/houstonflood; other Jewish federations from around the country have pitched in.
Franco said the Jewish communities in the Meyerland, Bellaire, and Willow Meadows neighborhoods were some of the hardest hit due to their proximity to the Brays Bayou. She added that they are working to locate apartments that are willing to house displaced residents on a temporary basis.
“If you think you might be out of your house for a month or two you don’t want to sign a one year lease,” she said.
Rodi Franco, the federation’s chief marketing officer, said Jewish Family Services is mobilizing to provide basic needs and set up crisis counseling. She said they are also collecting volunteers and trying to find an organization that will remove sheetrock from damaged homes. Franco emphasized that the extent of the damage is still relatively unknown.
“Some people are in a really bad place but they have insurance, some people are in a really bad place but they don’t have insurance,” she said. “It just depends. It’s so early. When you start out with no electricity and you’re sweeping water out of your house and you’re waiting for an insurance inspector to tell you, this is what you need to do to restore your home.”
Rhonda Love, vice president of programming at B’nai B’rith International, said on Wednesday the organization opened its disaster relief funding page at donatenow.networkforgood.org/bbi-disaster-relief. She said it was too early to tell how much money had been raised.
Love added that two B’nai B’rith leaders from the Houston area were in the process of making connections for aid.
“Right now there’s that on the ground response for cleanup,” she said.