09 Jun 15 Months After Mayfield’s Devastating Tornado, Good360 Is Still Helping Survivors
On the night of Dec. 10, 2021, Kay Houston didn’t go into work at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in southwestern Kentucky as usual. She needed to stay home and recover from a bout of Covid-19.
Getting sick may have saved her life. That evening, an EF-4 tornado ripped through Mayfield, and leveled the factory while more than a hundred employees were stuck inside. Eight of them would perish from their injuries.
For Houston, it was a triple tragedy. Not only did she lose her job and several of her friends, the tornado also destroyed her home.
This spring, thanks to a cross-sector collaboration that included Good360 and Mayfield Graves County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG), and other partners, Houston found herself in a newly renovated home, complete with furnishings and appliances.
“Overwhelmed and mixed emotions,” is how Houston described her reaction. “I just don’t know what to say…it’s so amazing and it’s awesome.”
Interestingly, Houston found a new job working to help fellow tornado survivors as an employee of Camp G.R.A.V.E.S., a partner of the LTRG.
Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. is focused on providing families affected by the tornadoes with rent-free temporary housing for up to 18 months, allowing permanent housing to be rebuilt and for survivors to recuperate mentally and financially. The camp consists of tiny houses, hook-ups for campers, or shipping-container houses.
Twelve of the temporary housing units at Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. are RV trailers that were donated by Dow Chemical Company to Good360. We then provided them to Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. to house survivors—Houston among them. In all, 130 trailers have been donated in support of disaster-impacted regions throughout the country as part of the five-year partnership between Good360 and Dow.
Houston was the first tornado survivor to be put into a renovated home as part of the LTRG program called A New Lease on Life. Under this program, LTRG partners with state and national professionals to repair abandoned homes with the same resiliency measures used in current new builds. The organization will then lease the home to tornado survivors at a significantly below-market rate for a year.
Meanwhile, the renter agrees to attend homeownership classes and will have an opportunity to purchase the property at a price below market value. The program is specifically geared for lifelong renters who have been unable to get assistance from FEMA.
Good360 has partnered with various corporate donors to provide some of the materials needed in the rebuilding process, including lumber, shingles, flooring, and bathroom and kitchen hardware.
Through a grant provided by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Good360 was also able to assist the LTRG with leasing a warehouse in Mayfield to house the materials. The warehouse doubles as the LTRG’s office space, and its case management and meeting center.
Our partnership with the Mayfield-Graves LTRG and its Camp G.R.A.V.E.S partnership is an excellent example of our long-term approach to disaster recovery. Long after the media has moved on to the next story and the next disaster, we are still working closely with nonprofit partners on the ground in Mayfield to help tornado survivors rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives.