East Texas Charities Struggle Since Katrina *HOLD 'TIL AIRDATE*

East Texas charities are feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Many volunteers have diverted their time and money to help the survivors and evacuees. Meanwhile, non-profit organizations here are struggling to help East Texans in need.

One such organization, Habitat For Humanity, had to put a house on hold this past weekend.

1510 Southridge is the site of Bernadette Hampton's future home in Tyler. If construction was on schedule, there would be volunteers out there, but work has been postponed until January.

That's because the 12 churches sponsoring the Habitat house are now helping hurricane evacuees.

"Not just those 12 churches," Anne Payne, executive director of Habitat, said. "All of the churches are doing that. So all of their giving is focused in that area and probably will continue to be for a while."

A little disappointing for Bernadette and her four children, who will have to wait for their new home, but Bernadette says she understands.

"I have a home," she said. "They don't have a home. They've lost everything."

Habitat has one more home scheduled to be built this year, plus 10 more set for next year. But because of the decrease in funding and volunteers, those plans may be pushed back.

"I guess our concern here becomes, wait 'til when?" Payne said. "Because we wonder how long this is going to affect us. The construction materials cost is going to, I strongly, firmly believe, will go up dramatically."

So, Habitat For Humanity, along with other local charities, just hope East Texans don't forget about the people who are in need right here at home.

"If there's anyone that's ever thought about volunteering, this is the time to do it," Valerie Asberry, Director of Family Services, said.

Since Hurricane Katrina hit, many local non-profits have been meeting with each other every couple of weeks. They've been trying to figure out not only how they can help the evacuees, but also how they can stay afloat during this time.

Julie Tam, reporting.