Winter Storm Survivor – Levi

You wouldn’t guess from his affable demeanor that Levi has had an especially difficult year. On top of the pandemic, he lost his apartment to flooding during Winter Storm Uri, and just prior to that, he was hit by a drunk driver. He mentions this to make the point to me that while he’s experienced a series of extreme setbacks in close proximity, he recognizes “how good he has it” on the whole. We talked about his being inspired by the way people united during the storm and of forging unlikely friendships in the midst of the chaos. When he first evacuated his apartment, he ended up at a hotel near the airport with a friend who’d been visiting from out of town. Because they were amongst the earliest evacuees, he says they were some of the “lucky ones” to find space at a hotel. But food had run out there; nothing was open because of road conditions, and some stranded hotel staff were also temporarily living at the hotel with guests. When a diner re-opened in the area, Levi got in line to wait hours for a meal. While waiting, he struck up conversation with diner staff about his…

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Winter Storm Survivor – Loretta

Loretta has been in Texas since she was a young girl. She loves Austin for its liberal, relaxed, family-oriented ways, as well as its parks, waterways, and warm temperatures. “There’s nothing better,” she says. A mother of five, and even a young grandmother, Loretta is engaging in conversation and laughs easily. She speaks with passion and motivation about the future 501 non-profit she hopes to build to support folks who have struggled with homelessness, having experienced it herself for three years. On a self-professed “pay-it-forward mission of love,” Loretta is one of those inspiring, positive people you just want to be around. When the snow first began to fall in February, Loretta and her family were excited. Her daughters (ages 10 and 25), her 3-month-old infant grandson, and Loretta herself had all just recovered from a serious battle with Covid-19. So when they lost power and heat in the sub-freezing temperatures — and were given little to no information as to when it would come back — it was a hard blow to endure. “This is it. I’m on my own.” “I had been homeless for three years… but this ice storm was the worst experience I’ve ever had.” After…

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Winter Storm Survivor – Sheila

  Born and raised in New Orleans, Sheila has had a full career traveling across the world as a flight attendant in early adulthood and later becoming a law clerk for the United States Magistrate. Sheila describes that past version of herself as “the person that wouldn’t even go to my mailbox without full makeup.” Now, she meets with me in a simple New Orleans Saints t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, her face clear and make-up free, walking her beloved Pug-Terrier pup, Harley. Vivacious and confident, Sheila tells me about how her values have changed and how she’s found her greatest passion in helping her neighbors. Sheila’s promise An avid supporter of Hope Family Thrift Store on 51st and Airport, Sheila frequently buys up household goods and distributes them directly to neighbors in her senior living community who need assistance. She proved her own theory when she learned during our interview that proceeds from Hope Family Thrift Store directly benefit the Austin Disaster Relief Network — the very same organization that came to her aid when her facility’s apartment management and government assistance were unavailable during the 2021 Winter Storm. “I close the store down sometimes.” When the storm hit and…

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Winter Storm 2021 – Press Release 03/10/21

AUSTIN DISASTER RELIEF NETWORK TO DISTRIBUTE FREE CLOTHING, FOOD AND SUPPLIES TO RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY WINTER STORM URI All Impacted Residents Welcome to Register to Pick Up Donated Supplies Friday, March 12, 2021 Austin, TX, March 10, 2021 – Thanks to a very large donation of new clothes (25,000+) made by a generous corporate donor and the donation of Care Kits by Global Empowerment Mission / B Strong, the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) will distribute free clothing and Care Kits to residents impacted by Winter Strom Uri this Friday, March 12, 2021. Clothing items for men and women along with 600 Care Kits containing food, hygiene supplies, PPE and hydration kits will be distributed to residents by ADRN volunteers while supplies last. All impacted residents are invited to register for a pick-up time at http://www.adrn.org/clothing or by calling ADRN’s Survivor Hotline at 512-806-0800. All individuals and families MUST register in advance in order to receive clothing and care kits. Due to the number of families expected to sign up, walk-ins will not be accepted at the event.  Families will be allowed up to three sets of clothing per family member along with undergarments, socks and more while supplies last. Clothing…

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Winter Storm 2021 – Press Release 03/08/21

UPDATE: CRISIS CLEANUP HOTLINE EXTENDED, SURVIVOR HOTLINE AVAILABLE FOR RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY WINTER STORM Austin, Texas, March 8, 2021 – The “Crisis Cleanup” Hotline for residents who need help cleaning up after the winter storm has been extended and will remain open through Friday, March 12. More than 700 calls for help have been received to date through this hotline from Travis, Williamson, Hays, Caldwell, and Bastrop Counties. Austin Disaster Relief Network, Samaritan’s Purse, CTX VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Associated in Disaster) and the volunteer management platform Crisis Cleanup are collaborating with the five counties to include the cities of Austin and Round Rock in the massive effort. Homeowners who have few resources and abilities can request assistance in the removal of fallen trees, limbs, interiors of home water damage, plumbing repairs, and other storm related damage. “We’re hearing call after call for help from residents with damage and debris following the extreme winter weather,” said ADRN Executive Director Daniel Geraci. “Even though we’re two weeks past the ice and snow melting away, clearing away the damage left behind takes resources that many of our neighbors don’t have. Over 41 network churches, Samaritan’s Purse volunteer teams and volunteers from around the city…

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