Disaster recovery can be RAPIDO

Disaster recovery can be RAPIDO

Salas family and Maria Sandoval pose in front of model temporary shelter. The RAPIDO program hopes to build the temporary residencies for families whose homes are damages by natural disaster while their new homes are built.

Through organizing and community partnerships

LUPE families that will be receiving new homes after their homes were ravaged by Hurricane Dolly attended a special event Friday to see how the RAPIDO program hopes to help many more families like them the next time disaster strikes. The RAPIDO program was created and run by Brownsville Community Development Corporation in conjunction with BCWorkshop.

The Salas family and Maria Sandoval, who will be receiving homes through the RAPIDO program, attended the event in Brownsville with LUPE organizer Eric Aguilar. They viewed the model of a temporary shelter that the program hopes to built for those families whose homes are damaged by future hurricanes. These shelters would have everything necessary for basic living, and once each family has one, the program would then go back and built the rest of their new home.

The Salas and Sandoval families are seeing how effective the RAPIDO program can be. With the assistance of LUPE organizers, the two Edinburg-area families have applied with the RAPIDO program for disaster relief funds so that they can finally move into a new home and move on from the horrors of Hurricane Dolly.

From fighting injustice to ensuring justice

Since Hurricane Dolly struck in 2008, LUPE had to sue the federal government and, with our partners in the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, press local entities to get disaster recovery funds to the families most in need. With the construction of this first round of homes, we are finally seeing the response our families needed six years ago. Through our collaboration with the RAPIDO program, we are looking at how to respond to families' needs and get them into liveable homes quickly after disaster strikes. Rather than just fighting against the injustices of the past, we are looking to ensuring justice in the future.

Not only are the Salas and Sandoval families receiving a new home through the RAPIDO program, they are also involved in designing that home. Thanks to RAPIDO's involvement of architect firm BCWorkshop and home builders Brownsville Community Development Corporation, the families have been invited to pick out elements they would like to see in their new homes. They feel grateful, not only because they are finally receiving the help they need, but also because they are counted as partners in providing for their needs.

That is the power of community organizing and creating partnerships.

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