After the Storm
A Conversation with Houston Community Organizer Eduardo Luna
Community organizer Eduardo Luna was born and raised in Houston, right next door to an area called Lakewood. He still remembers the last time his community was flooded — it was 16 years ago.
“Our whole high school had to go to a middle school close by.”
“The same thing is happening again,” he says, referencing the recent devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey. As soon as the storm hit, Eduardo took action. Using Facebook to share addresses of people in distress, he created an ad hoc rescue coordination system.
In the aftermath of the storm, several needs were pressing. Although Eduardo’s house was unscathed, he heard of neighbors and community members whose homes had been destroyed in the Tidwell/Mesa Street section of Lakewood.
People’s homes were in disarray — the structures heavily damaged by flood waters, mold growing on their remaining possessions. The growth of mold has also led to pulmonary conditions for the residents who remain or who have returned to dilapidated houses.
“These people lost everything,” he says of the residents of the northeast area of Lakewood, including Tidwell and Mesa Streets.
Once again, Eduardo took action.
Using his construction expertise, he started visiting the houses, taking out waterlogged belongings and breaking down unsalvageable structures. Water, dirt and chemicals have made many of the houses unlivable — yet some residents remain.
“There are kids out here sleeping in wet beds,” he says, describing residents who are now facing the very real physical damages of the storm.
This is how the Bayou Action Street Health (BASH) found Eduardo. BASH is coordinating individuals across the United States who are interested in participating in community relief efforts. The Texas-based community organization coordinated with Eduardo, sending him volunteers to help with the houses. Through this partnership, SAMS leadership met Eduardo and witnessed his tireless work to support an underserved community.
Eduardo remarks how volunteers have flown in from across the country to help. He is continuing his work, coordinating with volunteers to help residents make their homes livable again. Next week, on Sunday and Monday, SAMS will be providing medical services in the neighborhoods of Lakewood/Tidwell, and we are coordinating with Eduardo to provide services.
Eduardo and his team have so far, gutted 15 houses, and are still going. We are inspired by Eduardo’s dedication to the community, and his determination to help the residents of the Lakewood community.
SAMS will be providing medical services Saturday and onward in Beaumont, Texas, near Houston. Our mobile medical unit will be set up at a large distribution center projected to support 500 people.
We are still in urgent need of internists, general practitioners, endocrinologists, nurses, and non-medical volunteers. If you are available, please email us at email@example.com and fill out the form linked here. To find out more about our work in Texas, visit us online here.