CCC Corpsmembers Help Communities Accelerate Rebuilding After Hurricane Devastation

photo hurricane work

CCC Corpsmembers haul away debris from homes in St. Thomas, USVI.

SACRAMENTO, Calif- California Conservation Corps crews returned home after a month in Texas, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas helping hurricane victims rebuild their homes. Sixty Corpsmembers answered a national call in early November to remove downed trees, haul away debris and demolish mold infested walls and flooring to make homes ready for rebuilding. California Conservation Corps crews returned home after a month in Texas, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas helping hurricane victims rebuild their homes.

In St. Thomas, over 500 cubic yards of debris was hauled from the mucking and gutting of homes and cutting of downed trees into manageable pieces. One cubic yard is approximately the size of a washing machine.

“There is still a great deal of work to be done in these areas, but our crews worked hard to help the people in these communities by clearing out the wreckage left behind by these hurricanes,” said Bruce Saito, director of the California Conservation Corps. “We’re proud of the back-breaking work that Corpsmembers did to help our fellow Americans put their lives back together.”

The crew worked on multiple homes to remove all personal items damaged or molded from inside the home; take all walls down to the studs; and clear the yard of fallen trees and debris.“In most cases, these are people who don’t have the means to do this work themselves. If you have no resources to get your items out, there’s not much you can do,” said CCC crew supervisor, Chelsea Saeland.

“There are so many homes with a blue tarp roof because their roof was severely damaged or blown away,” said Sacramento native Richard Hervey, a Corpsmember based out of the CCC’s Fortuna Center. “Even when they had lost almost everything, neighbors got together to make us lunch, and bring us tools, food, water and resources. Hospitality when they had no house; I wasn’t expecting that.”

Corpsmembers say much work remains to be done in the hurricane hit areas. Entire blocks of communities are covered in debris and fallen trees, and many homes have no roofs.The CCC plans on sending more crews early next year in response to requests from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team that funds the relief work through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.In Texas, crews from the San Bernardino, South Lake Tahoe and Placer-Auburn Centers removed thousands of cubic yards of flood-damaged wallboards and flooring.

Additionally, Corpsmembers chopped up and removed hundreds of trees that had fallen onto homes and streets. A crew from the San Diego Center set up a base on the west end of Puerto Rico where they used chainsaws and other tools to remove dozens of large trees that had fallen onto homes without causing more property damage. Corpsmembers also distributed food door-to-door to 685 families.