West Street Recovery (WSR) is a horizontally organized grassroots mutual aid group, which aims to use the Harvey Recovery to build community power. Our driving principle is to work together with community members, not for them, or on their behalf. Our work is rooted in an understanding that certain communities were disproportionately impacted by Harvey because they lack access to resources and power, and that the same actors and forces which produced these inequities cannot be expected to adequately support these communities in recovery. We believe that the communities who were most harmed by Harvey are the people who best understand what can protect them in the future. As an interclass, and interracial organization we are uniquely positioned to create these connections and help residents improve their neighborhoods in they ways they see fit.
WSR is currently providing stipends to three community members who are managing over 150 different addresses in the Lakewood area on a case management basis. We strive to connect those families with the monetary, supply, medical and legal resources that are available to Houstonians but that can be difficult to navigate or find out about.
We are working to provide as many families as possible with the materials needed to build out at least one bedroom, a bathroom and their kitchen. The majority of the donations we receive are going toward these materials and tools necessary for rebuilds. We also work to secure donated and low-cost materials and access resource banks for appliances and furniture to distribute to homes in need.
Advocating For Neighborhoods and Supporting Community Organization
West Street Recovery has maintained engagement with the network of recovery efforts working across the city and witnessed how the bureaucratic structures of corporate charities and the governmental organizations to Hurricane Harvey has made for a rigid, inefficient, and out-of-touch approach to recovery. We have relayed the stories, needs and desires of the communities we are working with to these organizations and strive to make to an impact on their perspectives of and response to this crisis.