A New Home For Survivors

Georgia Roberts had been living with 10 of her children and four grandchildren in trailers and mobile homes since Hurricane Katrina destroyed her house in August 2005.

Today she has a brand new house, thanks to God, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Response Services (CRWRC-DRS), and the hard work of the people of Orland Park (Ill.) Christian Reformed Church.

Like many others, Roberts had been living in “temporary” housing since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave her three adjacent trailers to house her family. Later they were given a couple of mobile homes. These were intended to be a temporary fix, but three and a half years later the family still lived there.

CRWRC has been working in the Gulf Coast to help families like these. While the Red Cross met emergency needs and FEMA provided temporary shelter, thousands of families are still waiting for someone to help repair and rebuild their homes.

Using trained construction supervisors and various work teams, CRWRC-DRS has been meeting the need, one house at a time.

Orland Park CRC is one of the churches providing volunteer work teams. They sent crews of volunteers to Franklinton, La., to work on Roberts’s house in one-week shifts. In total, 59 people from the church participated.

“This is the third year in a row that Orland Park CRC has come down and built homes,” said Arnie Gustafson, CRWRC-DRS construction coordinator in the Gulf Coast. “They come as real servants, are willing to do anything they are asked, and always provide a knowledgeable, professional crew. They come to do God’s work.”

Don Waterlander of the Orland Park Adult Serve Committee says the church is blessed with an abundance of skilled construction professionals. During the winter when work is slow, they find joy in putting their talents to work for people who need their help.    

“We are very fortunate to have a lot of gifted people who love to serve,” he says.

Their contribution made a lasting impact on Roberts’s life. With help from Grace Community CRC, First Oak Lawn CRC, Palos Heights CRC, and Faith CRC, the volunteers from Orland Park completed her 2,700 square foot, six-bedroom, three-bathroom house in early March.

Filmmaker Chad Kremer was on the scene to film the home’s progress. Short clips of his video can be viewed at www.opcrc.org.

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