The roofing industry is responding to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Roofing contractors from around Texas and beyond are pitching in with financial pledges, donating equipment and actively participating in rescue and relief operations along the state’s eastern shoreline. An area spanning more than 250 miles between major population centers like Corpus Christi, Houston and Beaumont was saturated with an unprecedented amount of rain, estimated at more than 50 inches of since Harvey struck last weekend as a category 4 hurricane. So far, 31 deaths and many more injuries have been blamed on the storm, which already is expected to be among the most costly in terms of damage in American history.
More than 30,000 people evacuated to Houston area shelters while thousands more have been displaced as housing and major infrastructure remain drenched, or still literally underwater.
The costs for recovery could reach as high as $190 billion, according to the weather firm ACCuWeather. That’s roughly quadruple the price tag of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 ($49.8 million) and nearly eight times as much as the devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew ($24.5 million) in 1992.
Several roofing companies and groups are stepping up in different ways.
The Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT) had been active since Monday organizing relief efforts. Officials are also asking members and others to assist through the fund it established on Aug. 30 and intends to keep active through the end of the year.
The RCAT staff in Fort Worth along with former RCAT Presidents Paul Ramon, Ramon Roofing, Inc. and Dan Pitts, Pitts Roofing Company, Inc., helped organized the donation of more than 400 new airbeds, blankets, pillows and non-perishable food items shortly after the storm waters receded. Executive Director Sarah Burns said the group also loaded 40-foot trailers with supplies earmarked to a shelter and distribution point in East Montgomery County, the closest they’re allowed to get to heavily flooded areas surrounding Houston.
The organization is also lauding it’s members’ efforts on social media.
Heath Hicks' team with AVCO Roofing in Tyler also dropped off a load of supplies.
Initial monetary donations, like a $5,000 contribution from Empire Roofing in Ft. Worth, enabled RCAT to purchase every air mattress they could find at area stores
“The situation is really bad and is going to take months to recover, no doubt,” Burns said while on her way to a relief staging area in Austin, Texas. “I just can’t sleep at night knowing there are people, especially children and the elderly, sleeping on concrete.
This association and our members are blessed to be in a position to help our fellow Texans,” she continued. “With hundreds of roofing contractors, product suppliers, and other associate members, we literally have our own army of people willing and able to help.”
The immediate need is for more humanitarian supplies, but the demand for cleaning materials, masks, shovels and more will not be far behind as the water recedes and displaced residents are allowed to return safely to what’s left of their homes and businesses. Burns said RCAT is already preparing truckloads of those supplies for areas south of Houston, where the cleanup is already underway.
The organization will completely overhaul its website in the coming days to focus solely on disaster relief operations.
“This is what we’re all about as an organization, giving back to the communities that our members serve,” she explained. “Our fellow Texans are in need of help and there’s nothing more important than doing that right now.”
RCAT also urging roofers to fill the need for starting supply drop-off centers and their warehouse, and the use of their vehicle fleets to help transport relief items across the impacted areas.
On the national level, in addition to supporting relief efforts by the Red Cross, the National Roofing Contractors Association and the Roofing Alliance for Progress each pledged $1,000 to the SRS campaign, and the Sand Antonio Food Bank, which is in immediate need of help to accommodate the thousands of Houston-area evacuees that fled the storm and landed there.
Texas-based SRS Distribution Inc. launched a two-week fundraising campaign for its non-profit Raise the Roof Foundation established five years ago to assist with natural disaster relief and veteran’s organizations. The company will equally match all contributions received during this critical phase of the recovery process. They’re encouraging any and all donations via a Paypal page that will be active through Sept. 13. At time of publication, the amount raised exceeded $89,000.
All proceeds will support relief organizations that the foundation already supports, and directly to victims of the storm, including several SRS employees, said President and CEO Dan Tinker.
“The SRS Raise the Roof Foundation is committed to supporting natural disaster relief efforts of the communities we serve,” Tinker stated in a letter announcing the campaign. “The damage has been catastrophic, and these communities along with our employees, customers and suppliers will need our support."