The game of squash in southeastern Texas took a hard hit from Hurricane Harvey but has begun to recover due to the resilience of the squash community.
Mission Squash, the urban squash program in Houston Heights, has been busy with recovery efforts. Its three courts at James Hogg Middle School were not damaged because they are on the second floor of the school. But many of the program’s fifty-seven families were affected by flooding. Eleven families were seriously affected and displaced from their homes. Two of their students live in a complex that saw four feet of water come into homes. “They’ve lost everything,” said Nick Sutcliffe, the executive director of Mission Squash. “They had no renter’s insurance. One mother would not let her children inside the apartment to see the destruction.”
Mission Squash has been working in squads to help families clear their homes, rip out flooring, drywall and insulation and then chemically disinfect for mold, mildew and rodent infestation. “At one student’s house we were joined by five U.S. Marines who had traveled from Florida and Louisiana to help,” Sutcliffe said. Mission Squash has also been helping students’ parents to understand homeowner’s insurance policies and federal aid processes; helping them fine pro bono legal advice; and to act as caseworkers to help them make claims and apply for FEMA aid. Several cases include disputes with landlords who are claiming rent for apartments that have been wiped out.
Mission Squash has launched an online relief campaign to help their families. All funds are managed by Mission Squash and go exclusively to replace furniture, cleaning supplies and un-insured losses, including building materials like drywall, flooring and doors. View more images here.
Many Life Time squash clubs in the region were also affected. Clubs were shut for six days. Danielle Maur, the national racquet sports director at Life Time, has suspended all events that require fundraising until Houston gets back on its feet and repairs. Life Time is also supporting relief efforts like Feed Houston, as well as Life Time Lifts, a fund to support staff members impacted by Harvey with small grants for basic needs. They’ve also opened their clubs to non-members for showers and food. “We will continue to offer events and ways for players to play, as many members find squash to be their stress relievers,” Maur said.
The $10,000 SOAP Engineering Texas Open, a PSA Tour event scheduled for September 28-October 1, has been cancelled. The event had been organized by Muhammed Sadiq at the Downtown Club at the Met.