Here’s How You Can Help the Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Houston and the Gulf Coast communities are strong and resilient, but will need help and support to rebuild and clean up after such a widespread event. Houston is where we live and work.  The Texas Gulf Coast is where roughly half of our residential customers reside. Champion Energy, a Calpine Company, is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross Gulf Coast Chapter.

Seeing the images of destruction and rescues motivate us to do what we do best — support each other in times of need. If you are looking for ways to help, we have assembled a list of resources for you and your area.

Give Financial Donations

If you would like to support the Gulf Coast community, there will be a great need of resources to rebuild and help those impacted by catastrophic flooding. Choosing a charity that resonates with you and helps the impacted areas doesn’t need to be confusing. Donate to the Red Cross, or visit Charity Navigator to see organizations directly working in the Gulf Coast area hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey.

Give to Fellow Champions

In addition to our Red Cross donation, we’re giving back directly to our customers, and you can to.  Through the Power Partners program, you can donate through a check box on your bill, or through a special YouCaring account we have set up for this purpose.

All Power Partners donations September 1 through December 31 will be matched at 2X our normal level, $2 for every $1 given, up to a $10,000 match per individual donor.

Power Partners funds bill assistance for low income customers, administered through Sheltering Arms and other agencies. It will also fund a discretionary account to give bill assistance to customers who do not qualify for social services, but who have faced significant loss during this storm event.

Give your Time

Organizing the manpower to help in the communities is managed by several nonprofits and fed by numerous smaller groups. From loosely based teams, to larger faith based and non-governmental organizations, you can find a way to help. Register with one of the groups below, or contact a faith based organization near you to determine if they are sending in volunteers.

volunteerhouston.org
redcross.org/volunteer

Give Donation Items

While some may feel compelled to donate specific household items to disaster survivors, please remember that this may create a burden on responding agencies, as they must collect, sort, clean, and distribute items. Most of the local shelters and relief areas do not need clothing, but consumables. Check with your local agencies to determine if they have the resources to accept and deliver items to needed relief areas. Things you can donate include:

Bedding and pillows
Diapers
Baby wipes
Baby formula
Baby food
Wheelchairs
Dog food
Cat food
Cat litter
Insulin
Cell phone chargers
Feminine hygiene products
Power strips
Wet wipes
Socks
Toiletries (toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap)

How To Cope After A Natural Disaster


“I feel overwhelmed.”

You may be feeling overwhelmed by recent storm events. It helps to know that you are not alone.

Over half Champion Energy’s customers and most of our employees live in counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Even if you weren’t directly impacted by the storm, living through a major crisis or even watching it on television, produces many different types of feelings.

You may feel anxiety, depression, confusion and tension. You may find it hard to function, or have trouble making decisions. You may want to talk to somebody to decide “where do I start?”

The United Way of Houston has created an excellent guide, “After the Storm.”  Download a copy and share it with friends and family.  While developed for the Houston area, it also includes checklists as a starting place.

https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/assets/uploads/documents/news-publications/Greater-Houston-after-the-storm-2017.pdf

Wherever you are in Texas, you can dial 211 and reach the United Way Helpline.  This line an answered 24/7 and an agent can direct you to local resources.

(Remember, in the case of an emergency, always dial 911)

Repairing a Storm Damaged Home

When you are planning a renovation, time is on your side. You can carefully select and vet contractors.  When a natural disaster occurs, immediate repairs are sometimes unavoidable.  Stress from the storm may make it difficult for you to make decisions clearly. Six months from now, you don’t want to be thinking “Why, oh why did I hire that guy?”

  • File a damage report with FEMA- FEMA Assistance
  • Contact your homeowners insurance or renters insurance company to check on your coverage.

NOTE:  If you rent your home, your rights are protected, and your landlord is required to make repairs in a timely manner.  Visit Texas Attorney General Office – Tenant Rights for more information.

  • Assess the damage; document everything with pictures.
  • Flood waters may have included sewage or chemicals.  It’s important to remove wet items from the home to avoid mold and respiratory issues. If you are able, remove damaged sheetrock from your walls and remove carpeting.
  • Select a Contractor:
    • Select contractors that are licensed, insured and reputable. Many times after a disaster, contractors will travel from other states to work on homes. Make sure you know who you are dealing with by contacting their licensing agency to confirm they are legitimate.
    • Ask for insurance information. Certificates of Insurance for General Liability and Workers Compensation should be issued, upon your request, to ensure your home and family are protected from liability.
    • Do not provide payment to a contractor or service provider without a written, detailed proposal for the services they will be providing, including materials, a timeline for completing the repairs, and a payment schedule.

TIP! Rather than paying your contractor for the materials, make payment directly to the retail or wholesale outlet they use, over the phone or in person.  This will give you more security of your funds, and give you additional time to pay if cash is tight.

 

Source: http://texashomeandgarden.com/idea-center/remodeling/homeowners-beware-natural-disaster/