Veteran-led disaster response organization launches a long-term rebuild program in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, and Orange, Texas
Los Angeles (Dec. 1, 2020)—Veteran-led disaster-relief organization Team Rubicon today announced that it will embark on a Rebuild program as part of its long-term recovery efforts to help vulnerable families in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana and Orange County, Texas return to their homes following the devastation of hurricanes Laura and Delta, which struck back to back. The storms displaced thousands of people and NOAA estimated the damage from Hurricane Laura at $14 million, prompting Team Rubicon to deploy over 1,000 Greyshirt volunteers over a three-month period to provide immediate disasterresponse services to the region. Despite the challenges posed by COVID- 19, Team Rubicon has already assisted over 1,300 individuals and has already completed more than 500 work projects to date. In a deliberate action to reduce the amount of time the homeowners are out of their houses, Team Rubicon will launch this Rebuild on Giving Tuesday, December 1, 2020.
Team Rubicon’s commitment to the communities of Calcasieu Parish and Orange comes at an extremely critical moment in this year’s disaster season. With over 30 named storms to date, even the biggest storms have faded from headlines and become low attention disasters within days of landfall. Team Rubicon approaches disaster operations with the belief that every community impacted by disaster, regardless of disaster size, geography or media coverage, deserves immediate support. Often times these storms disproportionately impact low-income and vulnerable populations, and this is where Team Rubicon focuses. Within hours of landfall for both storms, Team Rubicon’s Greyshirts, what they call volunteers, were on the ground assisting homeowners and emergency managers. Team Rubicon is able to leverage this response operation to provide continuity of service to shorten the time it takes to get homeowners back into their homes.
“While the rest of the country has moved on from these disasters, we never left the community,’” said Jake Wood, CEO of Team Rubicon. “We entered the Gulf Coast at a time when it was almost impossible to fundraise to support these efforts, but as the region continues to get pummeled, it was important to us. We were one of the first relief organizations on the ground, working alongside emergency teams within hours of the storms making landfall, and we are working hard to find the resources to expand our Rebuild program to continue to serve the hardest-hit communities.”
This new commitment to help with rebuild efforts in the region is the fourth investment from Team Rubicon to reach beyond the immediate response phase of the disaster cycle and into the recovery phase. Since its multiyear pilot program to rebuild homes damaged by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, Team Rubicon has continued to expand its work into helping disaster-affected communities recover over the long term. Over the past three years, in addition to the 108 homes completed in Houston, Team Rubicon has completed 500 roofs and built three new homes in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria; and repaired 38 homes and built two homes from the ground up in Collier County, Florida after Hurricane Irma. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, Team Rubicon has also worked with experts to ensure response and recovery operations maintain the utmost health and safety standards.
Using Houston Rebuild as a laboratory for staff development and refining its rebuild practices, the organization has continued to make investments in its approach to reducing potential damage of future disasters and increase the resiliency of these homes. The goal of these innovations and learnings is not only to get people back into their homes more quickly following the storm, but also to enable them to better weather the next storm and age in place. To accomplish the latter, Team Rubicon also improves accessibility within the home.
Through the generosity of its donors, corporate sponsors and challenge issued by PXG in coordination with Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, Team Rubicon can commit to rebuilding in the Gulf Coast until Q1 2021 and could expand its efforts with additional support from the community.