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Hurricane Harvey Devastated My Community


The road ahead will be tough, but we can rebuild together

By: Janet Fonseca
Aug 30, 2017

Janet Fonseca

When Hurricane Harvey hit my neighborhood last Friday, the air pressure rattled my doors and windows so hard that I worried the wind would break through. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but trees, fences and power lines are down all over my community. The wind damage is severe here, but we are lucky that we didn’t get the heavy rain that continues to fall in Houston and other areas. 

Since the start of the storm, my husband Ambrose and I have been taking care of our two teenage daughters and an elderly family friend. We're doing our best to keep everyone comfortable, but I’m worried about the road ahead.

Debris from a mobile home destroyed by Hurricane Harvey
Debris from a mobile home destroyed by Hurricane Harvey

It is difficult for anyone to travel and it has been one big scavenger hunt for supplies. We lost power on Friday night but were fortunate to get a generator the next day with the help of a friend in the valley. Some stores in Corpus Christi are open but don’t have much to sell. It’s tough to see my neighborhood look like this. Cell service comes in and out as well.

We are still without power and the situation is getting scary. I’m worried about the rising cost and scarcity of gas. The demand for generators and food could make things very difficult for people in my community.

It’s times like this when being united with two million members in a strong union matters. We must band together and use our power in numbers to provide support and relief to our brothers and sisters with me here in Texas.

Janet Fonseca, SEIU Texas member
Janet Fonseca, SEIU Texas member

Members close to the storm are depending on one another -- sharing supplies, information and resources. We’re getting the word out that all residents affected by Hurricane Harvey are eligible for immediate, emergency disaster relief regardless of immigration status. Moments like this, where our union brothers and sisters are facing extreme hardships, demonstrate why it’s so important that we stand together in an organization like ours.

My neighborhood has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, but I remain hopeful that we will come together to rebuild and support one another.

Janet Fonseca is a Unit Secretary at Bay Area Medical Center in Corpus Christi, Texas where she provides patient care, manages doctors’ orders and monitors the cardiac unit. She has been a SEIU Texas member for seven years.

SEIU members can support the families of those affected by Hurricane Harvey by making a financial donation to the SEIU Disaster Relief Fund which helps support members in times of need.