The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund has selected eight non-profit groups to receive a portion of the $1.8 million donated to the fund to meet the on-going needs of those affected by the storm.
“The outpouring of support from Houstonians has been truly overwhelming,” said Tony Chase, chair of the fund’s advisory committee. “Our goal was to ensure that the funds entrusted to us were directed to organizations working directly with those impacted by the Tax Day floods. I am pleased to say that hundreds of families will be aided on their road to recovery because of the generosity of our community. This is Houston at its best!”
The fund was established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the days following the April 18 Tax Day Floods. The group is focused on aiding storm victims and relief organizations in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery counties. Funds from the program are intended to fill some of the gaps in aid from federal and state sources.
“These dollars are going to stay in our community to help those who are still recovering from the floods,” Mayor Turner said. “The federal government’s disaster assistance doesn’t cover all of the needs that are out there. Thanks to the generosity of neighbors who wanted to help their neighbors, we are able to fill in the gaps.”
Organizations receiving funds will provide case management services in order to aid a family in developing its own recovery plan as well as meet basic and some unmet needs. They include:
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston $214,350
Family Houston $5,000
Jewish Family Services $105,280
Houston Area Urban League $125,000
Katy Christian Ministries $33,310
Neighborhood Centers, Inc. $695,000
Northwest Assistance Ministries $15,000
Neighborhood Centers, Inc. was designated by the committee as the “unmet needs fund manager.” NCI will manage a pool of $695,000 to assist families in realizing their recovery plan. Unmet needs may include a variety of expenses such as replacing a damaged refrigerator or assistance with an apartment deposit. Other examples include moving expenses or repair to a flood-damaged vehicle to ensure the person can get to work. NCI will serve as the intake for all April 18 storm related unmet needs from across the community including referrals from the organizations receiving grants from the fund. An Unmet Needs Committee will approve distributions from this pool.
Funds were also designated to cover the acute needs in the immediate aftermath of the storm. This included an additional $67,000 paid to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston for costs incurred caring for the individuals at the M.O. Campbell Center emergency shelter, $458,000 to the City of Houston as reimbursement for costs associated with the temporary housing of flood victims in hotels, and $75,000 to the Houston Furniture Bank for furniture for those returning home.
Major donors to the fund include Les Alexander and the Houston Rockets ($500,000), Aramco Services Company ($100,000), Laura and John Arnold ($100,000), Hess Corporation ($100,000), Gringo's Mexican Kitchen/Jimmy Changas ($100,000), The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation ($100,000), SIMA of Houston ($51,000) and Waste Management ($50,000).
Contributions received to date total $1,832,608. Any additional funds received will be held in reserve for future storm-related needs.
Residents needing assistance with flood related recovery are encouraged to call 2-1- 1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE. Each of the organizations receiving grants agreed to accept new cases that come through the helpline.
Details Regarding the Grant Review Process and Fund Management
Proposals for grant funding were solicited by the committee through an RFP process administered by the United Way of Greater Houston. Each proposal was then evaluated by the experienced United Way staff based on the criteria established by the fund’s advisory committee with United Way providing the evaluation and funding recommendations for the fund’s volunteers and the Mayor to make final funding decisions. United Way of Greater Houston provided more than 100 hours of service as an in-kind contribution to the effort.
The fund itself is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity. GHCF also provided their services pro-bono.