Volunteers rally together to rebuild Independence Heights community

HOUSTON – If the date of Jan. 27 never held any meaning in your life prior to Saturday, now it might. 

“I, Sylvester Turner, mayor of the city of Houston, hereby proudly proclaim Jan. 27, 2018, as ‘Citgo Day’ in the City of Houston,” the mayor said at the kickoff event to Home After Harvey.

Home After Harvey is a project spearheaded by Rebuilding Together Houston and Citgo designed to rebuild up to 300 homes in the Independence Heights community on the city’s northern side.

“We are excited to announce a $6 million donation to Rebuilding Together Houston,” said Larry Elizondo, the general manager of Citgo government and public affairs.

“I am elated,” said Christine Holland, CEO of Rebuilding Together Houston. “I am thrilled that we have these partnerships and that we can help our neighbors in Independence Heights rebuild their homes, revitalize their communities and move forward.”

Holland added while she is thankful for the volunteers that came out Saturday they are in need of thousands more. She anticipates the project lasting at least three to five years.

“I love it,” said Alexis Davis, a volunteer in from Austin. “I work inside Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so being outside and having an opportunity to really dig in and do all of this, I love it.”

Moving forward after Harvey is a long process and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that understands that more than Turner.

“I’m very pleased with what’s happening locally: with volunteers, companies and corporations, nonprofits, faith-based communities, neighbors,  I’m very pleased on that end,” said Turner. “I am not pleased at all with how slow it has taken the (Trump)  administration and the federal government to send dollars down.”

The Home After Harvey program will evaluate affected homes with a goal of transforming 100 houses per year.