HOUSTON - The Houston-Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund is investing $1.65 million in emergency grants to support families and individuals, who need home repairs due to busted pipes, water damage and prolonged power loss during the crippling winter storm.
Less than a week after the relief fund was launched, the fund’s grants committee quickly approved this initial round of grants to help the most vulnerable communities, who are traditionally underserved with emergency repairs.
This $1.65 million in emergency grants come from donations already received. So far, more than $7 million in donations have been pledged by Houston companies and individuals.
Along with the lead donation of $1 million by CenterPoint Energy, major gifts have been made by Hess Corporation ($1 million); Astros Foundation ($500,000); Houston Texans and Janice McNair ($500,000); Reliant - an NRG Company ($500,000); Shell Oil Company ($500,000); the Weekley Family ($500,000); and Aramco Americas ($400,000).
$1.5 million is being invested in the Disaster Home Repair Collaborative, and $150,000 is allocated to Connective, a disaster recovery and preparedness system for the Texas Gulf Coast Region to establish a common application portal to facilitate low-barrier access to home repair services.
Home repair funds will be evenly allocated between disproportionately impacted communities in the City of Houston and unincorporated Harris County to assist vulnerable households with urgent basic home repairs.
Those impacted by the storm and needing help can text HoustonFreeze to 898211, or for Spanish, text HoustonAyuda to 898211 (TXT211 on iPhone). Individuals will be texted back with eligibility and application guidelines.
In addition, the fund is encouraging all families who were impacted by 2021 Winter Storm to complete a nonprofit-led Community Needs Assessment to communicate their needs at www.connectivesurvey.org.
The fund is dedicated to filling the gaps that may not be met by other local and federal efforts. There will be a concerted effort to complement FEMA federal assistance, and impacted families are encouraged to apply to FEMA now at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/.
The Foundation and United Way are now accepting donations online at www.WinterStormReliefFund.org.
The Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston will 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.