United Church of Christ

Disaster Recovery - Port Arthur, Texas

Contact: UCC Disaster Ministries

The Disaster Event:

Hurricane Harvey (August 2017) brought sustained torrential rains and devastating flooding to Texas, leaving 900,000 people in need. It caused an estimated $150 to $200 billion in damages, making it among the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Among people hit hardest were renters in already economically precarious Port Arthur. Flooded apartments included 17 rental units managed by the Southeast Texas Community Development Corporation, a local non-profit. SETCDC has provided low-income housing for more than 30 years, but neither they nor their tenants had the resources to restore severely damaged apartments.



UCC Disaster Ministries is partnering with SETCDC to get the work done and to build long-term relationships of care and support for the community.  In 2018, we:

  • fielded 11 work teams comprising 100 persons. They put in volunteer labor valued at $86,400 rehabilitating the volunteer house and 13 rental properties, which enabled 15-20 people to return home.

  • deployed UCC Partners in Service Disaster Volunteers Garrett and Elaine Cavanaugh, and Bill and Ellen Matten, whose combined service is valued at $57,000.

  • funded a construction manager and Hurricane Harvey Recovery Co-Coordinators Joshua Lawrence and Amariee Collins.

2018 funding: $367,788

In 2019 ... 

UCC Disaster Ministries will continue to provide additional support as resources are available. May 28, 2019, UCC Disaster Ministries approved an additional $50,000 for construction materials for Port Arthur, where, as of June 2019, “We are nearing the end of the 17 units--basically one more major rehab to do and then it's on to Beaumont,” Lawrence said. 

What's Next?

Volunteers are are still needed to help to repair homes in Port Arthur and Beaumont for low income renters who were displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Work may include but will not be limited to light carpentry, drywall, insulation, flooring, trim and painting.

2019 Goal: at least 20 work teams of up to 20 persons each. To get more info/schedule your work team now, contact: UCC Disaster Ministries - uccdisaster.portarthur@gmail.com

Read Yaribel's Story

Educational/Advocacy Components:

• Preparation for the trip: "Mission Trips That Matter" by Don C. Richter, Upper Room Books
• On-Site Reflection: "Meeting God in the Ruins: Devotions for Disaster Volunteers." Free copies may be ordered from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by calling 800.638.3522 ext. 2580 (ISBN 6-0001-6788-1); pay shipping only.
• Follow-Up Action: Help your local community prepare for possible disaster and response. Be sure your congregation has a plan in case of local disaster (see http://www.ucc.org/disaster_resources). Get to know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator and stay involved.

Accommodations: Volunteers will stay in a large, newly renovated house located in Beaumont, Texas. The home is equipped with central air, wifi and common areas. Beds and/or cots and kitchen access provided. Groups bring own bedding and prepare own meals. Volunteers will be expected to share shower and bathroom facilities. Note: there is only one bathroom.

Cost: Lodging is free; volunteers are responsible for their own meals. The volunteer house has a full kitchen that can be used by groups. Additionally, there is a large variety of restaurants within a short drive.

Minimum Age: 16 With Parental Consent Form

Group Size: 22 Maximum

Adult to Youth Ratio: Each group must include a minimum ratio of at least 1 adult to every 4 youth of each gender.

Tools: Fully stocked tool trailers will be on site for use by volunteer groups. Volunteers are welcome to bring personal tools if they so choose.

Other Information:

Arrive Sunday afternoon and depart Saturday morning. Work: Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Volunteers receive a free UCC Disaster Ministries t-shirt.

Your donations to UCC One Great Hour of Sharing® help make this recovery possible.

Index to All Current Volunteer Opportunities

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