Recovery and Beyond
“On June 1st, hurricane season starts again.” She repeated it. We were a tired, overwhelmed group of CSJ participants on a toxic tour run by t.e.j.a.s. (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services). Our group of ten college students and four adult...
UUCSJ is excited to partner with Rebuilding Together Houston and local grassroots organizers to offer a week-long immersion journey to Houston!
Join us for a hands-on learning experience where we will have the chance to work directly to aid in home recovery, as well as meet with, and learn from, local grassroots organizations working for a more just recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
We invite you to read this Texas Tribune article (and watch the imbedded video) to get one sense of the discussion around Hurricane Harvey recovery.
Why travel to Houston?
On August 26, 2017 Hurricane Harvey reached Houston and stayed there for four days. It was a Category 4 storm that caused an estimated $125 billion in damage (second only to Hurricane Katrina). However, the effects of Hurricane Harvey cannot be understood without understanding the greater context of Houston.
Houston is now the fourth-most populous city, as well as the most racially and ethnically diverse major metropolis, in the country. Its metropolitan area has the third-largest undocumented immigrant population in the country. Its geography (and lack of zoning) make it particularly vulnerable to flooding and rising sea levels. It is also one of the largest petrochemical manufacturing centers in the world and is known as a world capital of the oil and gas industry.
Hurricane Harvey is the third “500-year” flood to hit Houston in three years. Traveling to Houston will give us the opportunity to both work directly in home recovery (and reflect on the multiple meanings of “service”), as well as give us the opportunity to learn more about the complicated dynamics of disaster relief, environmental justice, climate gentrification, and working towards a more just and equitable recovery.
What organizations will we visit?
We will work with Rebuiding Together Houston for three days to help in the repair of homes affected by Hurricane Harvey. This might include demolding, painting, clearing out debris, deconstruction, or light construction or yard work.
We will also participate in a toxic tour with t.e.j.a.s in order to understand more deeply the intersections of race, class, and environmental justice, as well as visit with a UUSC partner to learn more about grassroots organizing for justice.
How can our congregation or youth group organize a journey to Houston?
We are currently planning an inaugural open-enrollment journey for October and will then work with congregations to organize journeys around specific dates.
Journeys will be approximately seven days long, with groups arriving Sunday afternoon and leaving Saturday morning.
How much does this journey cost?
Cost: $800 per person/adult, $750 per person/youth, does not include airfare
Price includes food, housing, and transportation in Houston.
Financial aid is available for up to 50% (75% for youth groups) of program costs based on need and is awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Please fill out the financial aid request section of the program application.
For additional fundraising we recommend that participants use Faithify, the Unitarian Universalist crowd funding website, which can help individuals raise money to cover their costs.
Click here to download a sample itinerary for this program. Please note that this is a pilot program, so the itinerary could change quite a bit.