Hundreds attend Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fair in 5th Ward

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HOUSTON – Hundreds packed the DeLuxe Theatre in Houston’s Fifth Ward to attend the last Harvey Recovery Fair of the year. 

Though Hurricane Harvey devastated homes more than a year ago, thousands of families still find themselves on the road to recovery. 

“I had 4 feet of water in my house,” said Southeast Houston resident Lynell Smith.

“The recovery doesn’t end as quickly as we’d like to think it does,” said Krystal Hasselmeier with the 5th Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation. “This is a one-stop shop for families to find the resources they need. That could include everything from repairs to housing assistance or anything they need to help them.”

Hasselmeier works with many families who are unaware of the resources that still exist for Hurricane Harvey survivors. She said many people, including the elderly and underserved, lack the monetary and tangible resources to fix their homes.

“Harvey really took everything away from me … Every time it rains … rain still comes in, and I need all the help I can get,” Smith said. 

The City of Houston, the American Red Cross, the Houston Food Bank, caseworkers and even volunteer lawyers, among many other groups, lent their expertise to the thousands of people who are still trying to make ends meet.

“A lot of (the) time, we’re able to help keep them in their homes and help them with legal issues so that they can focus on (recovery),” said Trey Holm, with Houston Volunteer Lawyers, a group aimed to provide free legal services to low-income people in Harris County and to promote volunteerism among lawyers.

“The Fifth Ward was heavily impacted by the bayou and Cashmere — so we have lots of (the) elderly population and populations that have lots of young children,” Hasselmeier said.

For Northeast Houston resident Janice Neal, Saturday was about organizing, listening and learning.

“(I’m) trying to get cabinets and someone to help us paint the house,” Neal said.

Neal said these resources are a lifesaver.

“If you come out to some of the things that they give you, you will receive the help that you need. Just be patient,” Neal said.

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