With donations to the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund (GHSRF) approaching $1.8 million, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the guidelines that will be followed in dispersing the funds to help victims of the April 18, 2016 Houston-area flooding.
Only nonprofit organizations, public agencies and governmental bodies providing direct support for the immediate and short-term needs of the flood victims will be eligible for the funds. Grant requests will be considered for services provided or to be provided in the following counties in Texas: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery.
“There has been an outpouring of financial support for our neighbors who are hurting in the aftermath of the flooding,” said Mayor Turner. “I want to thank the individuals, corporations and others who have made donations. Houstonians never hesitate to step up and help. Their generosity will help us meet the many outstanding needs that still exist.”
Some of the money in the fund has already been used to pay for three weeks of hotel accommodations for residents displaced from their homes, mainly in the Greenspoint area. The remaining dollars will be allocated to area nonprofits best equipped to help those affected by flooding in the following areas:
- Basic needs such as food, water, medications or medical equipment, and other needed essential items
- Rental assistance, utilities and deposits for relocation for flood victims
- Basic household necessities including mattresses, stoves, refrigerators
- Repairs for vehicles, but not replacement of vehicles, that sustained minor damage due to flooding or other transportation expenses
- Case management and related services to guide individuals through the recovery process
The United Way and Catholic Charities are already working to identify needs. Other nonprofits that are provided services are also eligible to apply for grants for the available funds. The most critical need appears to be furniture because a high majority of the flooded victims lost every piece of furniture and bedding that they had.
Grants must be approved by the chairman of the GHSRF Advisory Board, the city’s Chief Development Officer and the Great Houston Community Foundation. Once a grant has been approved, the funds will be disbursed to the grantee no later than one week from the approval of the grant. No grants will be awarded for any need that has already been met via federal disaster assistance. Any funds that remain unused at the end of the end of the response to the April 18 flood will remain available for any future response effort that is necessary.
The largest donation to the fund, $500,000, came from the Houston Rockets. Another half million dollars came from Aramco Services, Laura and John Arnold, Hess Corporation, Gringos Mexican Kitchen and the McNair Foundation, which each gave $100,000. Nearly three dozen individuals and companies made donations ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, and the rest of the money came from many smaller contributions.