Two years after Hurricane Harvey, 83-year-old woman finally back in home

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HOUSTON – Monday afternoon, a welcome home celebration was held for 83-year-old Maxie Arvie, two years after she was forced from her home of nearly 40 years by Hurricane Harvey.

Arvie evacuated the day before Harvey made landfall. Her house was severely damaged, taking on floodwater, in addition to developing a major leak in the ceiling. 

Arvie went to live with her daughter with nothing but the clothes on her back after she evacuated but hoped that one day she would be able to return home. 

The recovery process 

Six months after Harvey, Arive said FEMA workers came in and gutted her house, marking the beginning of the cleanup and recovery process. Arive used every cent she received from FEMA to rebuild but said it wasn’t enough to make her home liveable again.  Without proper electrical wiring, insulation or plumbing, her home was not safe or sanitary. 

During the winter of 2018-2019, Arive dialed 211, hoping to get more help with the rebuilding process after her FEMA money ran out. She contacted Baker Ripley’s Disaster Recovery Services and in turn, was connected to SBP Houston in March. SBP-Houston is a nonprofit that’s rebuilding homes after Harvey. She applied for help through Harvey Home Connect, an online application that matches eligible homeowners with vetted, reputable nonprofits providing home repair services in their area.

“We are really fortunate that we have funding from the JJ Watt Foundation and we are able to use a national service of volunteers, where it allows us to cut the cost of construction by about 40%,” Mark Smith of SBP Houston said. SBP has rebuilt more than 145 home in Houston since 2017. 

Welcome home Arivie!

In June, Ms. Arvie assessed the work that had been done by the crew of volunteers and her home was move-in ready by early August.  “I just looked around and saw how good God has been to me. All these people who’ve helped me have asked for nothing in return. They have just been wonderful, so wonderful and they have shown me so much love,” Maxie Arvie said. 

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