Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Photo courtesy of Attack Poverty
Photo courtesy of Attack Poverty

Last month marked the third anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented devastation across the greater Houston area and southeast Texas. For many communities, the lasting impacts from this storm are still a daily reality. Amid so many current challenges, GlobalGiving remains committed to serving our community-led nonprofit partners in Houston that continue to drive long-term recovery.

Here are recent updates from three of our partners who are delivering on long-term recovery because of your generosity:

  • West Street Recovery continues to expand and grow the capacity of the Northeast Action Collective (NAC). The NAC is a community-based group of Harvey survivors that meets monthly to organize strategies to improve their communities. Over the last year, West Street Recovery has invested heavily in building the skills of community members that are a part of the NAC. Through this work, the voices and needs of local community members have been elevated and amplified to ensure they are at the center of any conversation about long-term recovery. Members of the NAC have been featured in national and local media, including the AP, the Center for Public Integrity, the Texas Tribune, and the Houston Chronicle.

  • Attack Poverty is doubling down on the counseling services to low-income communities provided by its Community Social Worker. The organization created this position to address the massive spike in mental health issues and ongoing trauma caused by Hurricane Harvey — which has now been made even more pressing because of COVID-19. The counseling services are free to community members in the greater Houston area. The organization’s holistic approach to counseling includes referring households to targeted community resources, crisis support, and trauma-informed supportive services. From September 2019 to June of this year, Attack Poverty provided personalized counseling to 30 Hurricane Harvey survivors. The organization is now expecting to expand this work substantially through the end of 2021.

  • Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience (CEER) Houston is integrating community voices into the post-disaster decision-making process to promote equity and resilience. Over the last year, CEER Houston has invested directly in hyperlocal, grassroots groups to build the capacity of these organizations. Through this investment, these local groups are much better positioned to serve the communities in which they live. For example, the organization recently was able to provide $4,000 to residents in the Kings Colony neighborhood to ultimately organize and amplify their voices through an op-ed addressed to the Montgomery County Commissioner. 

All of this vital work has been made possible by your donation. Thank you for joining with more than 30,000 people to fuel critical relief and long-term recovery efforts in response to the long-lasting impacts of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. We will be back in your inbox in the months ahead to keep you updated on our partners’ progress and your role in building stronger communities.

With Gratitude, 

Chase + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo from Urban Harvest
Photo from Urban Harvest

At GlobalGiving, we are working around the clock during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis to best serve our nonprofit community across 170 countries. We have launched a Coronavirus Relief Fund, piloted a Hardship Microgrant Initiative, and doubled down on trusting our partners to know what is best for their communities during this emergency.

The COVID-19 crisis is not only upending our own lives and the lives of our loved ones, but it is also disproportionately hurting the most vulnerable among us and in communities around the world. This reality is especially true for communities that have already been severely affected by recent disasters, like Hurricane Harvey, and now find themselves on an even more complex and daunting journey to recovery. Nearly three years since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the communities in and around the Houston area continue to grapple with the lasting impacts of the storm and the slow support from local, state, and federal sources. 

GlobalGiving remains committed to serving our nonprofit partners on the frontline of continued Hurricane Harvey recovery work. At the beginning of May, GlobalGiving made a round of rapid response donations from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to provide immediate flexibility to our nonprofit partners in Texas as they now also respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in Hurricane Harvey-impacted communities. 

I want to share how three of our partners are doubling down on their critical work during the pandemic, thanks to your donation.

  • Urban Harvest launched its “Grow Resilience” program to ensure all Houstonians, especially those severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey, stay healthy, active, and fed during the COVID-19 crisis. The organization is committed to three core activities:
    • Sustaining the largest farmers market in the region, which supports 110 hard-hit local farms and small businesses, while offering a safe way for community members to access food.
    • Reaching 19,500 Houstonians with organic garden education via online webinars, classes, and resources.
    • Matching SNAP benefits dollar-for-dollar on fresh produce at farmers' markets across the city.

  • Coalition for the Homeless is the lead agency of the Houston region’s homelessness response system. Reports suggest that those experiencing homelessness face a higher risk of becoming infected by, and dying from, the virus. The organization is working quickly to promote and provide equitable and rapid access to information, supplies, and services for individuals experiencing homelessness. It is also playing a key role in advocating for access to testing, care, and treatment related to COVID-19including safe spaces for people experiencing homelessness to self-isolate.

  • Target Hunger is on the frontlines of meeting the food security needs of so many in the Houston area who are not sure where their next meal will be found. The organization has seen a growing number of people seeking help during this tumultuous time, reporting that 45% of its current clients are new individuals seeking food assistance. Target Hunger is responding by delivering food to senior households, increasing the distributions of its food pantries, and activating its mobile food distribution network. 

From our nonprofit partners and everyone at GlobalGiving, thank you for your incredible generosity. Joining together with 30,000 other people, your choice to support community-led recovery efforts in Texas makes all the difference during this difficult time.

Stay safe and well.

With gratitude,

Chase + the GlobalGiving team

 

Photo from IsraAID
Photo from IsraAID
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Photo credit: Attack Poverty
Photo credit: Attack Poverty

Recovering from a disaster is a long process. It takes years for a community to heal, to address the needs of the vulnerable and to move forward together. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey two years ago, donors like you contributed more than $5 million in donations to support affected communities on their rebuilding journey. 

In GlobalGiving’s latest round of grants from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, local nonprofits strengthened their capacity to provide continued rebuilding assistance, improved food security, and resilience training. Here’s a closer look at how you’ve supported Texans recovering at the local level:

Connecting Communities to Fresh, Healthy Food

In Northeast Houston, extreme flooding exacerbated many of the issues faced by low-income neighborhoods, such as food deserts and limited access to fresh, healthy produce. Today, Urban Harvest fights food insecurity through community gardens and gardening classes, SNAP/Double Up markets and farm stands. This community-based approach increases resilience to future disaster events through building strong community ties that improve access to healthy, local food.

Finding Nature-Based Solutions to Prevent Future Flooding

For cities built on top of low-lying floodplains such as Houston, coastal prairies are proving to be an effective natural barrier to minimize the impact of future storms. The Katie Prairie Conservancy is pioneering nature-based solutions through a data-driven, collaborative approach to conservation and restoration initiatives. Local community members are engaged in flood risk reduction efforts through regular volunteer days, local ecology lessons, and school programs. 

Exploring Ways to Mitigate Future Storm Surges

The interest in building nature-based resilience is especially critical for counties hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey, including Galveston, Harris, San Jacinto, and Brazoria. With new funding in 2020, the Bayou City Waterkeepers will conduct wetland analysis in 10 counties vulnerable to flooding, and engage city, county, and federal decision-makers in the push for natural solutions to storm surge.

Building  Back Stronger 

Having developed an innovative rebuilding model in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, SBP arrived in Houston within days of the hurricane to assist with immediate relief efforts before sharing their long-term recovery approach with other local nonprofits. SBP works with community leaders to identify the greatest unmet rebuilding needs of the community, and it will use the additional funds to bring disaster-weary residents back home. 

Serving Traumatized Children

For children who have experienced the trauma of a disaster, restoring a sense of normalcy and calming anxiety is especially difficult for those in communities vulnerable to future flooding events. Can’d Aid provides an outlet to kids affected by displacement and PTSD through gifting bikes and skateboards to more than 300 children, new instruments to two under-resourced grade school music programs, and environmental clean-up projects. 

As the new year gets underway, your generous support will continue to sustain initiatives that carry communities step-by-step toward holistic recovery. We’re looking forward to hitting the road again soon, and bringing back stories that show how communities are building back #TexasStrong. 

With gratitude,

Andrea + The GlobalGiving Team

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Photo courtesy of BakerRipley
Photo courtesy of BakerRipley

In the two years since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, GlobalGivers like you have raised more than $5 million to help residents across Texas rebuild and recover. We’re pleased to share this update on how your generosity  is helping others rebuild homes, implement disaster preparedness strategies, and strengthen resilience in communities across Texas. 

Long-term rebuilding and reconstruction 

Counties along the Upper Gulf Bend bore the brunt of Harvey’s winds. With support from GlobalGiving, Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group is providing new homes for eight low-income families whose livelihoods were destroyed in the wake of Harvey. 

Victoria County Long Term Recovery Group continues to make progress relocating homeowners whose everyday lives were turned upside-down during Harvey to a nearby community positioned above active flood zones. The “Hope Meadows” project currently has 15 approved new homeowners. Thanks to their efforts, displaced families in the communities of Bloomington, Placedo, and Dacosta finally have the opportunity to feel secure in their new homes. 

With the help of local volunteer groups and partners, Rockport Hands of Hope has installed storm covers on more than 100 homes throughout Austwell and Tivoli. By reinforcing homes that are at high risk of being damaged by hurricane force winds, their efforts ensure that families are better equipped to face future disasters. 

All Hands and Hearts teams in Coastal Bend have also been hard at work in the Texas summer heat, completing an unprecedented twenty-four homes during a five month period.

Resilience building

GlobalGiving recognizes that reconstruction is just one part of the recovery process. Our partners at Attack Poverty and Urban Harvest have incorporated wellness programming into their disaster recovery work to help communities recover from their losses.

In response to the gap in providing emotional support services for disaster survivors, Attack Poverty's Disaster Recovery team has started an Emotional and Spiritual Support Program which focuses on providing in-home counseling to residents for more than 30 families. By approaching each home repair assessment through an emotional support lens and training construction coordinators in mental health support, Attack Poverty ensures that individuals are able to recover from both physical and emotional hardships that Hurricane Harvey caused.

With the support of GlobalGiving, Urban Harvest hired a Community Engagement Director to more directly serve four Houston-area food deserts experiencing heightened challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. By connecting food access, productive greenspace, economic opportunity, and community development, the new director empowers each community to recover with dignity and build resiliency in their neighborhood. 

Preparedness and mitigation

Texas’ propensity toward hurricanes, floods and other disasters means preparing for these events is a priority. Our partner Harvey Home Connect has expanded its “recovery matchmaking” services used after Harvey to connect homeowners in need with groups working in the area (specifically finding groups that could work within the parameters of the request for service) to be ready to activate in future disasters. With support from GlobalGiving, HHC is building out backend infrastructure to improve their ability to respond and has already expanded to less served counties, including Brazoria and Galveston. The success of these improvements was evident in HHC’s effective, rapid response in the wake of Imelda. 

In collaboration with emergency management experts, the Houston Arts Alliance has designed a program that prepares the arts and culture community for future disasters and teaches artists how to recover their assets in the wake of a flood or another crisis. HAA is also collaborating on mitigation and engineering projects within Houston’s historic theatre district that would reduce risk for this part of the city, Houston's heart of art and culture, from flooding. HAA is emerging as a national leader in disaster preparation for the artist community. Since partnering with GlobalGiving, HAA has been invited to join VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), multiple long-term recovery groups, and at the request of the Smithsonian Institution, will be speaking at the Heritage Emergency and Response Training in December 2019 in Washington, DC.

Houston Advanced Research Center is an independent research hub providing analysis on environmental issues for people seeking scientific answers. With support from GlobalGiving, HARC is providing technical research and data that informs the City of Houston’s Climate Action Plan, due out in December 2019. HARC also works with climate scientists on climate risk indicators, together producing first-time data for areas of the region that will support Houston’s resilience plan. This data will be broadly available, and HARC is developing story maps for different regions that illustrate climate risk factors and social impact risks to tell different stories. HARC is engaging partners from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas on this story mapping project, intended to benefit local communities and demonstrate the real risks associated with climate change and rising heat index.

As residents continue rebuilding their communities, we are immensely grateful for your generous support for each of these programs. Thank you for your decision to fund community-led disaster response efforts after Hurricane Harvey with your cash donation—the smart way to give after a disaster. 

With gratitude,

Kelly + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo courtesy of West Street Recovery
Photo courtesy of West Street Recovery

Harvey made landfall as a category four hurricane on August 25, 2017. 150 mph winds flattened homes and businesses along the once-booming tourist coastline, and heavy rains flooded south Texas an area the size of New Jersey.

This past April, I had the opportunity to meet with partners and community members that are still rebuilding their communities. I drove from Corpus Christi to Houston via Aransas, Rockport, Refugio and Victoria, learning about community-specific needs and how our partners are addressing them. 

Port Aransas and Rockport County were Hurricane Harvey’s ground zero. Around 40,000 structures were damaged or completely destroyed by Harvey’s winds and accompanying tornadoes, and businesses along once bustling streets remain boarded up as local neighbors work to repair or rebuild their own homes. Rockport Hands of Hope has addressed thousands of minor home repairs and remains one of the go-to sources for recovery needs. From plumbing and electrical work to wind resistant window coverings (up to category 4 strength), Rockport Hands of Hope is undaunted by the steady flow of requests for assistance. 

After leaving the coast I headed toward Victoria via Refugio County, a rural coastal community with a population of 7300. I visited with three families whose homes were severely damaged by Harvey, and remain so today -- caved ceilings, rampant mold growth, exposed electrical wires, a detached chimney. One family, the Castanedas, were featured in last year’s Victoria Advocate Hidden in Plain Sight series, which explores inequality – and how Harvey exposed the gap between the people who could afford to rebuild and everyone else

The Castaneda’s story isn’t unique to Refugio. In Houston I met with the Doucettes, a family whose home is being rebuilt by local West Street Recovery group. WSR was launched by a group of friends in the midst of Harvey during a spontaneous search and rescue (with an inflatable kayak) as the city streets turned to waterways. WSR works in areas with poverty levels above the national average and income levels below the Houston median. West Street Recovery is another partner that strives to “fill the gap” where insurance and federal recovery programs will not, and are prioritizing the unmet needs of low-income, socially vulnerable families. In addition to reconstruction, WSR provides workforce development training, community organizing and disaster preparedness programs for its community.

Before returning to DC, I met with partners approaching disaster recovery from a different angle. Attack Poverty has launched a pilot program that brings on a full-time mental health professional to assess the emotional well-being of survivors during case visits. Research demonstrates a major gap in providing mental health services to disaster victims, and Attack Poverty is incorporating it into their every-day programming to address this unspoken, yet critical need for dedicated support. 

Looking to the future, the Houston Arts Alliance has teamed up with an emergency response specialist to educate the arts and culture community of Houston on disaster response and preparedness. A $1.2 billion industry in Harris County alone, museums, theatres, and small-businesses were hit with more than $50 million in direct damages by Harvey. The artist community is self-proclaimed to have been unprepared, which is why HAA is building out programming and workshops that will inform resilience planning and meet the needs of a multicultural, multilingual community. 

By the end of my visit, I recognize a few common threads hold true: Harvey continues to disproportionately affect low-income, marginalized and otherwise vulnerable communities; there is a major gap in providing mental health support for survivors; and, Texans are [always] thinking about the next storm. We’re proud to have partners who are still going strong two years later, undeterred by the infinite tasks that lie ahead; and we’re grateful to have the means to provide support to those advocating for improved systems and infrastructure that will prepare communities for the next storm. 

Other organizations we support include: 

  • Harvey Home Connect 
  • Victoria County Long Term Recovery Group
  • Urban Harvest
  • Coalition for Environmental Equity and Resilience
  • Houston Advanced Research Center
  • Bayou City Waterkeepers

Looking to the year ahead, GlobalGiving will continue to support grassroots, locally-led groups that are leading long-term Harvey recovery efforts and incorporating themes of disaster preparedness and resilience into their work. From food security projects to workforce development, regional climate research and nature-based resilience programming, GlobalGiving will invest in organizations that invest in the people they serve.

Photo courtesy of West Street Recovery
Photo courtesy of West Street Recovery
Photo courtesy of West Street Recovery
Photo courtesy of West Street Recovery
Photo courtesy of Rockport Hands of Hope
Photo courtesy of Rockport Hands of Hope
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