It almost seems like a dream. Five years...and I can clearly remember things that occured before the storm...but much of what occurred after...does not come in to focus well. All the contacts and faces of the people who responded and helped and rescued us....are a bit blurry. I would have thought that these things would be etched in our minds but others I have spoken with here are having the same trouble. I guess it is like being in a car accident and you know people helped...you just cant remember all of the details. Well maybe its better for us this way....but it makes us seem like we are ungrateful for the hands that did help...and for that I apologize for not contacting you.
We are well. We rebuilt our home in Waveland with the aid of the Navy CBs and used it for the County social services offices for three months...as it was the only building with water, ac and flushing toilets. We then hosted about 400 volunteers over a two year period...who stayed in the home and worked rebuilding the area....and then it was time to put it back in service for children. We hired live in houseparents and reopened as a community sponsored foster home with 6 kids. Social services wanted us to reopen as an emergency shelter....but they changed the regulations and we just couldn't do it with the money we had. After one year in Waveland...we had a chance to buy a country home inland with seven bedrooms and a guest house next door with four bedrooms. We stepped out in faith...and did it.
We now use our Waveland home as office space for HH and three other small non profits and that works well. We have the office home up for sale...but not much joy there.The children who come to us love the country setting...small pond...horses and goats next door....barn to play in.
On the down side...abuse and neglect cases have risen dramatically in the wake of Katrina. There are over 230 kids in custody in the county compared with about 100 prior to Katrina. Stress, no jobs, meth all have ripped this County back apart. The basic infrastructure has begun to recover...the people...thats a different story.
Our funding situation has suffered....local support is hard to come by and the economy has hurt the grants and foundations who supported us....but we are keeping our heads above water which is better than many.