A House in Austin | Photo by Francia Garcia Hernandez

Local nonprofit A House in Austin is not exempt from the flash flooding that affected many Austin homes on July 2. The extensive damage to the house at 533 N. Pine Ave. left the nonprofit with repairs to complete, lost program supplies and appliances to replace. Despite the obstacles, the house is still opening its doors to local families while the nonprofit makes repairs and raises funds to cover unexpected recovery costs. 

“Programs are still running and we’re resilient and continuing to serve families in this community,” said Lynette Kelly-Bell, co-executive director. 

Many parents felt this was another hit to their community “in a city that doesn’t really value them,” she said. They, like other West Side residents, are concerned by the possibility that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District held off releasing water into Lake Michigan to spare the NASCAR street race held in the Loop on July 2. 

“A lot of parents feel that they would rather flush [water] to communities that are not so economically strong as opposed to doing something like this on the north side, where there’s more wealth and there’s more pushback for it.” 

Laundry facilities offered to local families were completely damaged, in addition to the house’s HVAC system | Provided

As a result of the storm, the home’s basement flooded with over eight inches of rain and sewage. The nonprofit’s free laundry facilities and fridges that store supplies for their healthy eating class were in the basement and thus, were lost. Many bags of supplies for the nonprofit’s programs and provided free for parents and children were lost including books, toys, laundry supplies, clothing, school supplies and other items. The rain also damaged the house’s roof and the attic. 

Flooding in the basement damaged the HVAC system, which the nonprofit is working to fix soon. In the meantime, participating families and children bear with the heat with the help of donated fans. 

Free laundry services, which have become a staple for several of the 30 families the nonprofit serves each year, continue to be on hold. Kelly-Bell hopes they will return this service once the basement is restored and new appliances are purchased. In the meantime, her focus is to continue to be a place where families and children are empowered.

“It might be a little bit hot and humid, but families can still get everything that they are used to, except for laundry.”

With restoration underway, the costs of repairs and replacement of appliances and program supplies so far mounts up to $25,000, though it could increase. 

Family and children’s supplies stored in A House in Austin’s basement were lost after it flooded with eight inches of rain and sewage | Provided 

“We’re looking at about $25,000 with our fingers crossed,” she said. “I feel like every time someone comes out to inspect, they find a new form of damage or just something that we thought was okay and now they recommend we just purchase new.”

Like many Austin families, the nonprofit’s insurance does not cover flood damage, so they will have to pay out-of-pocket. The nonprofit is thankful that supporters and community members have not come up short in showing their generosity and support. The nonprofit started a fundraising campaign for the restoration of the home, which as of July 30 raised around $16,000 dollars.

“There’s definitely still time for people to take us even further and reach that goal,” she said. 

To donate, visit A House in Austin’s Give Lively page or their website at ahouseinaustin.org

To volunteer or find other ways to help, text 773-896-3582.