October 30, 2017

Week four: Oct. 16-22, 2017 in Houston, Texas

MONDAY William Bonilla and Fredy Llanos of Make the Road New York (MRNY) were the next two SERTs deployed to Houston, Texas. Upon arrival, Bonilla and Llanos worked on and prepared mold remediation curriculum for upcoming training sessions scheduled.

TUESDAY The SERTs held a meeting with two organizations today to assess the needs of the affected communities, and they also created a calendar to continue outreach for day laborers, families and contractors. The kits given out during outreach include water, snacks and the NIEHS booklets on mold remediation. Next, the SERTs began scheduling training like OSHA 10-hour, train-the-trainer and resiliency. They will continue to help the new worker-trainers with curriculum on mold remediation.

WEDNESDAY In the morning, Bonilla and Llanos visited a nearby Home Depot to connect with workers, as well as throughout the neighborhood to reach day laborers, and delivered about 120 kits prepared by the Fe y Justicia organization. The afternoon and remainder of the day consisted of a meeting with trainers from Fe y Justicia, where the SERTs assisted with the development and preparation of two-hour mold awareness training.

“We had the [opportunity] to share some experiences of our work with Hurricane Sandy, and they were very receptive to the help we want to provide,” Llanos said.

THURSDAY Beginning at 6 a.m., the SERTs continued their outreach directly connecting with day laborers in the surrounding area. They delivered packages which include NIEHS booklets on mold awareness, snacks, water, N95 respirators, bandages, sunblock, gloves and other informational resources. While sharing the resources, the SERTs were able to share how workers could aid in protecting themselves from mold and other hazards faced repairing houses from the aftermath. By noon, they already delivered 110 packages at six different locations.

They later returned to Fe y Justicia where they met with organizers to prepare 300 more safety kits to distribute to workers and community members in need. “We made a map of the places in Houston that we already visited and those that we have not yet visited to continue our outreach,” Llanos said.

Train-the-trainer courses with Fe y Justicia and Workers Defense Project trainers are scheduled for later this month, as well as mold awareness training for community members.

FRIDAY Five different points north of Houston where visited by the SERTs today where they spoke with day laborers and delivered over 60 informational and help kits.

“It is important to mention that during our tour we met people who are already having respiratory problems and allergic reactions on the skin after doing work removing debris and cleaning houses affected by Hurricane Harvey,” Bonilla said.

Bonilla and Llanos emphasized a focus on these affected individuals, relaying the importance of information and protection when carrying out this work.

The rest of the day included a trip back to Fe y Justicia where the SERTs and organization continued building information kits to help those still in need.

SATURDAY The SERTs met with Scot Rudolph first thing to determine what PPE will be needed for the train-the-trainer course scheduled Oct. 26-27.

Then they proceeded to an area called Cinco Ranch, where they were given the opportunity to meet with two families directly affected by the hurricane.

“These two families lost their house and all their belongings,” Llanos said. “They told us how traumatic the experience was that they lived because of the hurricane.”

Through talking with the families, the SERTs also discovered the majority of workers removing demolition, garbage and debris material were young – no more than 20 years of age – and they were working without any prior training or PPE.

“We invited them to the upcoming mold awareness training,” Llanos said.

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