Member Stories

Houston AFSCME Member Confronts Hurricane Harvey Floods with Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant

AFSCME Local 123 member Demond Stanley used the Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant after catastrophic Hurricane Harvey to assist with damage to his Houston home. Demond is grateful for Union Plus and his union’s AFSCME Advantage benefits that helped him navigate all the upheaval.  

Tied with Katrina as the costliest weather event of its kind, Hurricane Harvey inflicted approximately $125 million in damage as it cut a northerly path through Texas. 

In its path, City of Houston Water Inspector and AFSCME Local 123 member Demond Stanley. Hunkered down with his nine-year-old and two-year-old children, Stanley rode out the storm. In the first day, two feet of rain fell. At its worst, on September 1, 2017, a third of Houston was underwater and 39,000 had to evacuate to shelters.

“Yep, my house had water damage. It messed up a lot of flooring and many of our possessions,” said Stanley. “It was some storm.”

Stanley describes himself as pretty involved with his AFSCME local union. He regularly attends meetings and passes out flyers at different events as needed. As a water inspector, he appreciates confronting the different challenges and problem-solving approaches required to ensure Houston has safe water for its residents. It’s a passion that came in handy in the aftermath of Harvey. 

“I was basically trying to pay the bills and keep everything together,” said Stanley. “In the midst of it, I had someone remind me that I might want to call Union Plus.”

Stanley talked to a Union Plus representative who encouraged him to apply for its Disaster Relief Grant. The Grant is available to AFSCME and other union members who are Union Plus Credit Card holders. Through it, union members may receive $500 for help with recovery. 

In addition, Union Plus Auto, Life and Accident Insurance Programs or Mortgage Program participants may be eligible to receive extensions or other special help from the respective program providers. The Disaster Relief Grant is also available to Union Plus Auto, Life or Accident Insurance policy holders.

“I looked in the mail one day and there it is! A check from Union Plus,” said Stanley. “It enabled me to buy some more furniture, put a down payment on new carpet and get current on my credit card. I also really appreciated the flexibility of my Union Plus Credit Card through Capital One. Those folks were outstanding.” 

In addition to meeting his needs, Stanley was also able to replace one of his children’s prized possessions. 

“My boy lost his Big Wheel,” said Stanley. “That was the thing he wanted to most. We got that replaced too.”

Everything has returned basically back to normal for the Stanley family and all is well. Stanley is grateful for Union Plus and his union’s AFSCME Advantage benefits and how they helped him navigate all the upheaval.

“I love Union Plus because it’s so flexible and fast,” said Stanley. “I made the phone call and the representative put me together with all the programs I needed that would make a difference for my situation. I’ve always liked the discounts and cash back, but the disaster relief program was simply amazing.” 

If a natural disaster hits, AFSCME and other union members who are Union Plus Credit Card holders should call 1-800-622-2580 to speak directly with a specially trained representative. 

Union Plus Mortgage and Union Plus Life, Accident and Auto Insurance holders should call 1-800-472-2005 to speak to a Union Plus staff member.