HOUSTON, TEXAS (September 1, 2021) – While the disastrous winter storm in February may seem like a distant memory for many, there are still neighbors in our community who need help recovering. The Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund is investing $3.4 million in area nonprofits serving the most vulnerable families and individuals impacted by the storm. This latest round of grants provides funds for home repairs, flexible emergency financial assistance, and the establishment of a home repair reimbursement program. This round of grants represents the final investments from the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund, as all contributions collected to date have now been distributed to support families and individuals in our community impacted by the disaster.
Thanks to an additional gift from the Wood Next Fund for $250,000 and a gift from the just keep livin Foundation Texas Relief Fund, the fund is supporting the launch of a new $1 million program to support lower-income families that have an income of 120 percent of the area median income or below with reimbursement for minor home repairs completed immediately following the winter storm, for reimbursement for loans or depleted savings used for home repairs after the storm, and incomplete home repairs. More information on the program can be found at https://www.connectivetx.org/winterstorm/home-repair/.
In addition, $300,000 is being invested in two new home repair partners, Area Agency on Aging and Katy Responds, to support homeowners with urgent basic home repairs due to busted pipes and associated water damage. Grants totaling $375,000 to provide emergency financial assistance are being invested in five BIPOC-led, grassroot organizations that have relationships in the communities they serve and are uniquely positioned to reach vulnerable families that are less connected to social services. An additional $1.7 million is being invested in eight organizations to provide emergency financial assistance targeting households in Harris County and outside the City of Houston or in unincorporated areas of Harris County.
To date, more than 5,000 individuals have received financial assistance and more than 700 homes have been repaired through grants from the storm fund. Since the fund was launched in February, more than $17.5 million has been contributed from generous corporations, foundations and individuals. Recent contributions to the fund include Comcast NBCUniversal ($500,000); BHP ($250,000); Wood Next Fund ($250,000); Itron, Inc. ($200,000); Kinder Morgan Foundation ($150,000); Westlake Chemical Corporation and the T.T. and W.F. Chao Foundation ($150,000); Accenture ($100,000); Bechtel Group Foundation ($100,000); Doug and Sarah Foshee ($100,000); Port Houston ($100,000); and the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation.
“A priority of the fund was to help as many families and individuals who were already struggling when the winter storm wreaked havoc on so many in our community,” said Donna Sims Wilson, chief operating officer of Kah Capital Management and co-chair of the fund’s grants committee. “Many thanks to our trusted nonprofit partners who were able to identify the areas of greatest need in the communities they serve and support them in their recovery efforts.”
Those who were impacted by the storm and reside in the City of Houston or Harris County are asked to take the following steps to be connected with available resources:
Home Repair and Home Repair Reimbursement Assistance
Complete the Connective Home Repair and Reimbursement Application, www.connectivehomerepair.org; this online form allows applicants to request home repair assistance, repair-related reimbursement, or both.
For assistance completing the Connective Home Repair Application, email email@example.com in any language and include a call-back number. Guidance is available in English and Spanish and if needed, referrals can be made to interpreters for other languages.
211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is also available to connect those in need with a nonprofit partner providing assistance in your area.
Launched by Mayor Sylvester Turner and Judge Lina Hidalgo, the Winter Storm Relief Fund’s purpose is to support nonprofits providing relief and recovery efforts for individuals, families and communities impacted by the 2021 Severe Winter Storm Emergency in Harris County and the City of Houston.
“I am grateful to everyone who donated to make the Winter Storm Relief Fund a success. The unprecedented freeze devasted a lot of families who did not have the resources to repair their homes,” Mayor Turner said. “Also, it is great news that the momentum will continue with plans to support lower-income families with reimbursement for minor home repairs completed immediately following the winter storm. Time and again, Houstonians and our partners have proven that they have the heart to help others in a time of need.”
“It’s a statement of our community’s values that a range of businesses, foundations and individuals came together to support the Winter Storm Relief Fund,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “Extreme events can leave behind damage that takes months, even years, to address. After helping thousands of families in the immediate aftermath, this collective effort will continue to hone in on those who are still vulnerable, still suffering, and still in need of social and financial support.”
Along with disaster home repairs, the fund supports temporary housing and other basic needs relief and is dedicated to filling the gaps that may not be met by other local and federal efforts. Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston jointly oversee and administer the grant distribution process with the help of a grants committee. GHCF and UWGH continue to share information about all grants publicly on the fund’s website, www.WinterStormReliefFund.org, and through other communications for complete transparency about the expenditure of funds.
About Greater Houston Community Foundation Greater Houston Community Foundation, one of Houston’s largest grant makers and leaders in philanthropic impact, has served the greater Houston community for 25 years. The organization supports high profile community and donor initiatives with the most comprehensive philanthropic resources, expertise, and innovative platforms. Greater Houston Community Foundation is widely considered the go-to partner for high-profile philanthropic partnerships in the Greater Houston area, including major disaster relief initiatives, such as the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund as well as Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Greater Houston Community Foundation leads collaborations that support the wellbeing and vitality of Houston, including Understanding Houston, in partnership with Rice Kinder Institute. The Foundation provides individuals, families, corporations, foundations, and advisors with the ability to expand their philanthropic impact. For more information, please visit, http://www.ghcf.org.
About United Way of Greater Houston For nearly 100 years, United Way of Greater Houston has brought together diverse partners and approaches to address the complex challenges holding people back. We are a driving force for good that connects our neighbors with opportunities to thrive. We help our neighbors achieve financial stability. We provide services that support the physical and behavioral health of families and youth along with educational services that expand their skills and horizons. We provide a safety net that catches the most vulnerable. We manage every donation with care to make the greatest impact across the four-county region of Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, and Waller counties. We connect neighbors with help 24/7 through our 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE. For more information, please visit, http://unitedwayhouston.org.