Ike Steals Paychecks

For thousands of Houstonians Hurricane Ike was an inconvenience. But for others — it's the reason they won't be able to make rent, pay for utilities or fix the car. As Laurie Johnson reports, many businesses are still closed and that means a loss of paychecks for thousands of people.
Scotty Sanders runs the Missions Training Center at the corner of Long Point and Silber.

"We've had just long lines every day."

The MTC is an outreach ministry of Houston's First Baptist Church. Hundreds of people have shown up over the past week. They're looking for rent and utility assistance because they missed so much work after Hurricane Ike.

"These people get no pay if they're not there. It's amazing how businesses operate that way and how these people are really hurting. It's very scary for them because they want to work, there's just no way. So it's just been very difficult for them."

Caseworker Claudia Reyes says she's seen a lot of people who have never before asked for financial help.

"It's a little hard because mothers, head of homes, fathers come in here and they're just so embarrassed to come but they know that they have to because of no work right now, and food. It's been a major need."

Not everyone who faces a financial crisis turns to social services. Many turn to credit cards. Tanisha Warner works for Money Management International, a credit counseling service.

"During a time like this where people are strapped financially, then they do fall back on their credit cards and they take out additional loans and they're looking for help."

Warner says Houstonians who are financially strapped because of Ike should be proactive. Call your utility company and landlord to ask for an extension. And remember there are dozens of agencies in the region that can help with financial problems.

And Scotty Sanders says those of us who saw Ike as a sort of hurrication have the opportunity to make a difference.

"If you see someone needs help, go help them. Don't worry about trying to contact somebody else, an agency or send them some place else, just help them. Just do what you can do. And I think that's the word, that's a good word for all of us."

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...