Gratitude. It’s what has filled my heart and mind these last few days and I know many of you can relate.

Our communities have banded together, neighbors helping one another and families coming together like never before. We are collectively exhausted. Clean, sort, haul, disinfect, repeat. Not to mention the emotional weight we are carrying as we wade through our memories covered in muck. And let us not forget those who are feeding us, washing our clothes, volunteering at shelters, and donating provisions. We are all survivors. We are here, alive and together, and so grateful.

What has only been a little more than a week feels like a month. And while many of us, but not all, have been able to start removing debris from our homes, the work is only just beginning for our Precinct 4 crews and the contractors retained long before the name Harvey was ever associated with a storm. At this moment, our Harris County Engineering Department feverishly works to set up temporary storm debris dump sites, allowing those who are able to clear their own storm debris to do so. The Debris Removal Hotline is 713-274-3880.

Please be patient and understanding during this time as we all work together to rid our communities of the many, many, MANY piles of storm debris. This effort will be ongoing and long-lasting, but I assure you we will not stop debris pickup until it is finished.

Two quick reminders: Neighborhood streets packed with cars cannot be served because dump trucks and other large equipment cannot get through. Please help your helpers by sorting your storm debris as recommended by the Harris County Engineering Department.

My goal with this newsletter is to provide you with helpful and timely information during this crisis. Please see the tips below for choosing a contractor, why flood insurance is so important, public health concerns, and more. Precinct 4 is here to serve you!

Flood Recovery: Taking the Next Steps

Four Ps of Debris Removal

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, many residents in the most devastated neighborhoods have already begun the arduous task of sifting through their belongings and clearing their homes of muck left behind from flood waters.

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Choosing a Contractor

A natural disaster destroying your home is unimaginably difficult. It’s overwhelming and heart-wrenching.

What could be worse? People taking advantage of you when you’re the most vulnerable.

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Park Closures

Mercer Botanic Gardens and Jones Park will be closed until further notice due to the severe flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Both parks sustained catastrophic damage and may not open for months.

Learn more about other parks closures and cancelled programs.

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Staying Healthy After a Flood

With the widespread flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, Harris County Public Health is warning the public to take precautions when working in flood-damaged areas.

As cleanup continues, resident should be aware of the various health hazards.

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Tips for Finding a Vehicle

Early estimates show thousands of Houston-area car owners and dealerships lost vehicles during Hurricane Harvey. With scarce resources, many residents are turning to car rental companies to find transportation.

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Importance of Flood Insurance

Thousands upon thousands in Houston and Harris County have been impacted by the force of Hurricane Harvey, realizing all too well the necessity of homeowners insurance and finding out the hard way just how important it is to have the separate flood policy.

It is estimated that only about 15 percent of homeowners in Harris County have flood insurance.

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Recovering a Flooded Landscape

When a natural disaster strikes, the last item on the recovery list is probably your flower beds and lawn. For those who spend a lot of time laboring in their yards though, it may be more of a priority.

With time and patience, nature’s resilience will allow most plants to return naturally. But there are a few tips that can help encourage restoration.

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Water Quality Testing

Worried that Hurricane Harvey affected your drinking water?

Harris County Public Health will begin free water quality testing onsite at four locations throughout Precinct 4 starting Wednesday, Sept. 6.

The following facilities will be open for water quality testing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.:

Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park
709 Riley Fuzzel Road
Spring, TX 77373

Mangum-Howell Community Center
2500 Frick Road
Houston, TX 77038

Samuel Matthews Community Building
1728 Huffsmith Road
Tomball, TX 77375

The Metropolitan Church Administration Building – Reception Area
12851 Jones Road
Houston, TX 77070