Harvey relief fund makes first grants 

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund announced its first round of grants totaling $7.55 million to 28 local non-profit organizations to provide services and support to flood victims.

Grant recipients include the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, BakerRipley (formerly Neighborhood Centers), Houston Habitat for Humanity, Houston Food Bank, New Hope Housing, Northwest Assistance Ministries, Salvation Army, SEARCH Homeless Services and Volunteers of America.

The accelerated round of grants amounts to about 10 percent of the total donations to the fund. The grants were announced by fund advisory board chairman Tony Chase, along with Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who started the fund shortly after the storm caused extensive flooding that disrupted the lives of thousands of residents.

“The goal of the committee was to quickly get these funds into the community through organizations uniquely equipped to help our neighbors suffering from the storm,” Chase said. “We placed a particular focus on the critical need for temporary housing throughout the region and I am pleased that we were able to help people in every zip code across the county.”

The relief fund is designed to fill the aid gaps unaddressed by government efforts. The grant contract with each organization specifies that the funds must go toward programs that will benefit storm victims within the next 90 days.

Many of the initial funds are dedicated to providing temporary housing, rental assistance and other financial assistance to storm victims. The remaining portion will help provide food to flood victims, along with case management to help them navigate the various governmental and insurance processes.

“Our goal was to get a roof over the heads of those suffering to ensure that they can get back to some semblance of normalcy,” said Bill Jackson, co-chair of the committee.

Flood victims can call 211 to ask for services provided by the agencies that received funds. Donations to the fund may be made at houstonrecovers.org.