HIPPY Storm Story
As a mother of children in the Houston ISD Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Program, Hidalia cares about her children and their education. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, she is facing dire circumstances.
Hidalia and her family bought their home from a couple. Due to their income level, they couldn’t access traditional mortgages or lending, so the process of purchasing the property did not involve contracts but only verbal agreements at the time. The couple promised her that they would eventually provide a contract. Hidalia and her husband paid a down payment of $7,000 to the owner and agreed to pay a certain amount on a monthly basis. While not ideal, their options were limited and the did the best they could to provide a stable home life for their children.
Because of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Hidalia and her family were evacuated from their home. During relocation, Hidalia contacted FEMA so they could have some sort of economic recovery. One of FEMA’s requirements is to provide an original contract for the property. When she contacted the couple they purchased the property from to request the contract, not only did they deny her the contract but they also told the family that the down payment and monthly payments had never been received. They went on to tell Hidalia that she and her family did not deserve the contract since they are illegal. Fortunately, the family kept receipts for the money orders they have been sending as payment for the last 4 years. However, they still have no received a purchase contract.
After the water had subsided and it was safe to return, they were told to go back to their home and pick up whatever belongings they could recover. Hidalia only wished to recover items that represented family memories and that were very meaningful to them (pictures, baby diaries, umbilical cord from both children, albums, etc). They were lucky enough to recover these important things, undamaged by flood waters. They placed them in a large black plastic bag and went back to her sister’s house where they have been staying since Harvey. Days later, one of the neighbors assumed that bag was a trash bag and threw it away, not knowing the content of it. Hidalia has been devastated to know that the only items she could recover were completely gone.
Currently, Hidalia and her family are not at home because it is in the process of being repaired. Further, they do not have any money. Her husband is a mechanic, and at this point she is only able to help him repair cars in improvised places. They are desperately in need of assistance and have not received any help besides what HIPPY has provided for them.
NCJW Houston is proud to have brought the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Program to Houston, helping families prioritize education of their children. We maintain our connection to HIPPY through sponsoring the transportation for their end of year celebration and providing new clothing and school supplies to graduates and their siblings at our annual Back 2 School Store. We hope to be able to continue to provide assistance to the families, now more than ever.