Post-Harvey, we are reeling from the destruction and devastation caused by the hurricane winds and flooding, dealing with what has personally affected those in the storm's path, and wondering what we can do to help.  Southmost, Houston, Central, and East Texas sections all had communities severely impacted by the storm. Texas members and chapters from all over the country have already been contacting us asking what they can do to help--this is the APA family.  

APATX has undertaken the following actions so far:

--Appointment of a Post-Disaster Recovery Committee. This has members from across the state and the affected regions. Their task is to come up with the immediate post-recovery plan and a longer term plan to marshall assets.

--Coordination with APA National to help identify and start setting aside resources.  In other disasters, this has included CPAT (Community Planning Assistance Teams) which provide voluntary assistance, financial assistance for localized planning workshops, and allocating FEMA assets for on-the-ground training and assistance.

--Establishing an APATX Recovery Fund. This is in process, and donations will be used to fund planning efforts for affected communities, and for scholarships for planners whose communities (and budgets) may be affected by the storm.  We are working on a specific link, but you may send contributions to APATX or you may make a general donation to CPAT efforts through the APA Foundation

--Adding sessions to the APATX17 Conference in Frisco to address disaster planning, recovery, and reconstruction. 

--Making contacts with TML, TAC, and other local and state officials. APATX and its members will be referred to communities seeking planning assistance.

With regard to the APATX17 Conference in Frisco--  If you are from an area affected by the storms, and find out that you will be unable to attend the Conference, I want to stress we want you at the conference.  That is why we will seek donations to help ensure your attendance.  However, if you must cancel due to the storm, you will not be charged a cancellation fee.  Details are on the Conference page.


What You Can Do Now

These are small, simple, but not unimportant steps. There will be plenty more work ahead. 


--Reach out to nearby cities and see what assistance their communities may need in conducting post-disaster assessments, or getting city hall back to operational.

--Contact (phone call, email, tweet, instagram) your, or nearby cities', mayors, councilmembers, state representatives and senators and open the conversation about what planners can contribute and how planning matters, and how planners are an important component of city development and redevelopment, and they should call on you for advice on these issues.  

--Blog, tweet, post on social media the success stories of planning and volunteer efforts of planners in affected communities. 

--Attend public post-disaster meetings and speak up.  Offer your expertise.

--Interested in getting involved at the state organizational level--contact me and I will put you to work! 
           
Recovering from Harvey is the golden opportunity for Texas Planners to step up and be the leaders in the post-disaster recovery and reconstruction process statewide, and I know you are all up to the challenge and that your fellow planners can count on all of you. 

 

Kimberley Mickelson, JD, AICP
President, Texas Chapter, 
American Planning Association