Texas Gulf Coast community partners exuded the often said “go big or go home,” as they represented the Lone Star State at last month’s peer learning convening. With high visibility and eagerness, they participated in technical assistance and capacity-building sessions, mobile tours, and, cultivated relationships with community leaders, funders, and subject matter experts from across the nation.
The UTRI partners are participating in a six-month opportunity to develop neighborhood scale plans that are designed to address unmet disaster recovery and resilience needs. Eddie Williams of Talent Yield Coalition, Inc. (TYC) shared that Texas’ system was “broken before [Hurricane] Harvey; therefore, “it has been left up to organizations like TYC to help the thousands of residents whose applications for assistance have been outright denied or remain unassessed due to residents not having IDs or other paperwork that was lost or damaged during the floods in the first place.”
The organizations representing the full UTRI cohort participating in the PRC convening, were: the Coalition of Community Organizations; Emancipation Economic Development Council, Fort Bend Houston Super Neighborhood 41 Council; Talent Yield Coalition, Inc.; West Street Recovery; and Westry Mouton Project that respectively serve the city of Houston, Fort Bend County, Harris County, Chambers County, and Jefferson County.
While participants shared the challenges that often accompany addressing racial disparities in disaster recovery work, they also shared best practices on what has worked and how they will leverage their successes to ensure long term impacts that benefit residents for years to come. Myrtala Tristan participated as a part of the West Street Recovery team, and said she “learned so much from my time here with everyone. Now I can take back what I have learned so that my community will know what to do to be heard.”