LOU’S HAPPY TRAIL(ER)
In 2017, with money from her savings and a loan from a friend, Louise R. (known as “Lou”) bought the trailer home of her dreams in Aransas Pass, Texas. Less than three months later, the town took a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey, forcing Lou — the 68-year-old widow of a U.S. veteran — to evacuate inland. When she returned on August 28 — her birthday — her dream home had no roof, no electricity, no running water, and mold and mildew throughout. Lou stayed there for nine days, crawling in and out through a broken window, until local law enforcement made her leave for her own safety.
It wasn’t the first time a natural disaster had displaced her. Lou and her husband had been the only survivors of a tornado strike on their Florida trailer park. Now, facing another catastrophe, she felt helpless. There was no money left, and she still had to pay for the trailer lot while also reimbursing the friend who had loaned her money for the trailer. Three times, she applied for — and was denied — FEMA assistance. Finally, at a friend’s suggestion, Lou went to an event hosted by Community Action Corporation of South Texas (CACOST) to see if she could qualify for any assistance. CACOST —a sub-grantee of Texas Association of Community Action Agencies (TACAA) — provided her with immediate aid in the form of gift cards, but Lou still needed a home.
In January 2018 Lou received a brand-new RV Travel Trailer and a perfect location for her new home: Howdy Ranch RV Park in Mathis, Texas, which agreed to a low monthly fee for Lou (all bills included) and one month’s free rent. Thanks to CACOST, TACAA and your generous support of the AARP Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, Lou is safe, settled and happy in her new home, and doing volunteer work for veterans.