Every year around spring, people start looking at their homes and removing the items that might no longer have value to them. Spring cleaning, as it’s called, is a stressful endeavor. To make it more manageable experts suggest marking tasks with estimated time: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, etc., and then only working one task at a time. Soon, everything will be clean and manageable.
If a low stakes endeavor such as spring cleaning involves so much stress, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to clean up after the devastation of a major hurricane. And this hurricane season, the U.S. has had a rough time, with both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma destroying thousands of homes across Texas and Florida.
Thankfully, there are a number of free cleaning and service options available to residents of the affected areas, and countless Americans have donated their time, money, and professional services to assist the recovery efforts. These services include things like free home repair, home cleanup, and even legal services to help with insurance disputes. All over Houston and Florida, volunteers and businesses are coming together to help affected residents clean up after the storm of the millennium.
For instance, KHOU reports that nonprofit Rebuilding Together “provides free repair and renovation programs for elderly low-income, disabled and service-veteran homeowners in need. That’s just one of the dozens of organizations that’s stepping up to provide disaster relief.
In addition to these services, Texas officials also waived Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations in order to allow participants to buy hot meals. This will allow individuals that are qualified for food stamps to purchase more than groceries, which might be impossible to store due to home damage.
For those affected by Hurrican Irma who were uninsured (or underinsured), the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is recommending they contact Crisis Cleanup. This group was created by and for volunteers and people that work one-on-one with survivors whose homes have been affected by natural disasters. They may be able to offer free assistance to repair and clean homes after survivors apply.
The number for Crisis Cleanup is 1-800-451-1954, and after calling a volunteer will take a detailed account of the damage or help needed. They will coordinate everything from basic cleanup to tree trimming and removal.
However, it is important to note that it can often take several days before a callback is made. Once entered into the system, however, applicants will be in the system and volunteers will be able to see them. It also does not guarantee that an applicant will be served, although it does maximize their chances for assistance.
While the Crisis Cleanup hotline won’t be active throughout the fall, there are many other public resources available to hurricane victims. Already, thousands of Americans have applied for emergency assistance from FEMA.