BakerRipley: The road to recovery

The tale of the two cities is on full display as we begin to realize the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in Houston.

In Houston like everywhere else, COVID-19 has further magnified the inequities that keep our most vulnerable neighbors from moving forward. 

These inequities affect their ability to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to economic downturns and natural disasters. 

As a result, BakerRipley quickly adapted strategies and programs in order to meet the challenges emerging in our communities.

In many cases, COVID-19 has left families unable to attend to basic needs like food and shelter. In turn, the complexities of moving up the socio-economic ladder will increase – and the health and wellness of our neighbors will continue to suffer.

As we adjust to the new normal, we’re committed to creating pathways of opportunity that allow our neighbors to achieve their aspirations.

Volunteers and staff prepare for food distribution.

Today, our teams and volunteers are on the frontlines, working to crush the inequities that exist in each one of the communities we serve. Since March, more than 1200 volunteers have contributed 33,000 hours to our work – but we still need help.

Demand for Basic Needs

We’re currently helping families meet basic needs through food distribution and meal delivery programs, rental assistance, utility assistance, and other relief programs.

In Houston, experts are warning of a new surge in evictions when some federal protections expire on July 25. Since March, there have been more than 8,000 eviction filings in the Houston area. All of this is greatly impacting our neighbor’s ability to thrive.

Economic insecurity

Unemployment continues to be a top concern throughout the region. Often times, residents struggle to gain access to the resources or education needed in order to earn a better living.

Currently, individuals are struggling due to unemployment, the inability to work or work enough hours, and/or difficulties in accessing resources. 

In the wake of the pandemic, 35% of Houston workers are experiencing furloughs and layoffs.

Source: Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s Houston Education Research Consortium.

Through a holistic ecosystem of programs, we’re connecting Houston’s small businesses to resources and providing individuals with essential programs.

Through our immigration & citizenship services, our neighbors are able to navigate complex systems and stay in the country legally. 

Health & Wellness

Our communities regularly encounter barriers across social, economic, and environmental factors. Also known as social determinants of health, this directly impacts their health and wellbeing.

The neighborhoods we serve consistently rank highest on multiple socio-needs indices, a statistic strongly correlated with poor health outcomes. In short, our neighbors desire but lack access to the healthcare they need to achieve their goals. 

During the pandemic, we have seen the mental and physical impact of isolation when neighbors no longer have access to community engagement and healthcare.

Many immigrants also live with anxiety and fear accessing health care and other resources or face language barriers once in the system.   

The Road to Recovery

Unfortunately, recovery relief is not equitably distributed across vulnerable communities. One of our goals is to fill that gap, as the virus is currently decimating immigrant and refugee communities throughout our region.

Just as important, is our commitment to share our lessons and learn from our community partners. 

The road to recovery is long, but our history and expertise in community building and disaster recovery enable us to respond to the most pressing issues our communities face today.

In a state of crisis, our immediate response can’t wait, because half a million people depend on it.