A house may be made from bricks and beams. But a home is made of hopes and dreams.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas on August 25, 2017, Sylvia Garcia thought everything she had worked so hard for was lost when her home was destroyed. “I remember trying to pick up stuff, and thinking… this is hopeless,” she said.

But Sylvia and her family discovered that not even a category 4 hurricane could completely wipe out all hope. They moved into their rebuilt home that winter, in time to celebrate Christmas at home as a family. “We really wouldn’t know what to do without SBP,” she said.

This fall marks five years since Hurricane Harvey made landfall. When the storm first hit, causing catastrophic flooding and destroying or damaging an estimated 300,000 homes in the Houston area, Toyota pledged $1 million to its long-time nonprofit partner SBP (formerly known as St. Bernard Project) to bring much-needed services to the community.

When the moment came, SBP was ready. The organization has been helping families for over 16 years by focusing on planning for resilience before disasters occur and working to streamline the post-disaster recovery process through its home rebuilding program. With help from the nonprofit Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC), SBP drastically improved its efficiencies, reducing the number of days it takes to build a house to 60 from 112.

Toyota invested in SBP’s Harvey response because of the organization’s core value of ”Yokoten”, a Japanese term SBP learned from Toyota, which means “if you do it well, share it.” Through its Share Program, SBP did just that and shared its rebuilding model, along with funding to help 21 smaller nonprofits rebuild even more homes for Harvey-impacted families.

“We need to replicate this. SBP will not leave until every single family is home,” said Zack Rosenburg, SBP co-founder & CEO, speaking to community members the day Sylvia and her family moved back home in 2017.

“A collective approach is the best way to make that possible,” said Mike Goss, General Manager, Strategic Partnership, Toyota Motor North America. “We can share our processes and know-how, while SBP is the expert in disaster resiliency and recovery,” he added. It’s only when we come together that we can fully realize the most efficient, impactful way to move forward in times of disaster. So, with every house built, it’s not just a home being restored, it’s countless hopes and dreams fulfilled.

To learn more about SBP and to review disaster preparation tips, visit https://sbpusa.org/.

See more about Sylvia’s story here.

Originally published August 25, 2022

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