Our hearts are broken for the entirety of Southeast Texas, especially our loved ones here in Houston. Despite the destruction Hurricane Harvey has unleashed on our beautiful city, we continue to be inspired by the outpouring of love and compassion from so many members of our local and national communities.
In moments like these, it can be difficult to know where to turn next. What do we do? Where should I go? What does the city need? How can I help?
We didn’t know the answers either, but we decided to take action and do everything in our power to find some. We’ve collected information from sources all over the web that we’re sharing here with hope that it brings you comfort, solace, or, at the very least, a mental plan of action. Please know that we did our absolute best amid responding to the emergency needs of our personal friends and family, but we’re sure we didn’t capture everything. We welcome you to leave comments below if there’s something you think we need to add <3
For the Flooded/Evacuated
We know that so many families are experiencing the loss of their homes and that leaves us all feeling utterly helpless. Here are a few tips that may prove helpful as the city slowly begins its road to recovery:
- File your insurance claim ASAP. A new law goes into effect on September 1, 2017 that makes several changes to the remedies of property owners under the Texas Insurance Code and those could have an impact on everyone affected by Harvey. Learn more here.
- Our team created a Flood Documentation Item List that we hope will help you detail your home’s damage throughout the claims process. It includes a few helpful tips along with fields where you can quickly enter any information that may be necessary for your claim. Regardless of whether you use this particular form or not, please note that most sources suggest taking pictures of any damage incurred from multiple angles.
- We understand that documenting damage is impossible if you’ve been evacuated from your home and have been unable to return. Here is a Returning Home Checklist from American Red Cross and a list of steps you should consider taking once you’re safely able to return can be found below (with much gratitude to Kevin Harris Architects):
Here are a few key tips as you document damage:
“When it comes to personal property, especially after a large loss like a fire, tornado or hurricane, documenting damage can seem especially overwhelming. Tackle that task just as you would the daunting task of eating an elephant — one small bite at a time.”
“Start in one room, and then move to one corner of that one room. If needed, zero in on one piece of furniture, like a dresser, and focus on the top left drawer. Continue methodically from there. Do this for no more than 60 to 90 minutes at a time, and then take a 15 – 30 minute break.”
The Kevin Harris team offered up some other amazing post-flood guides that we simply had to share:
For the Generous Hearts
If you were spared flooding and/or evacuation or you’re living outside of Texas and wondering what you can do to help, we’ve got you covered. As you can imagine, there is a massive need for financial support in addition to a lengthy list of food items, toiletries, clothing, and supplies that are currently in high demand.
Let’s start with financial support. Here are a few online donation centers where you can make a significant and lasting contribution to rebuilding the Bayou City:
American Red Cross
The Red Cross said they depend on financial donations to help provide immediate relief. They have already set up a way to donate to victims with a simple text. Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also visit redcross.org or call 1- 800-RED CROSS.
The United Way also announced a way to text a donation: Text UWFLOOD to 41444 to donate to the United Way Flood Relief Fund.
The Salvation Army
GHCF – Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
You can easily make an online donation to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, and administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
JJ is stuck in Dallas with the rest of the Texans team but that hasn’t stopped him from reaching out to support the city he calls home. He kicked the effort off with a fundraising goal of $200,000, a goal that was rapidly met. Now, with over 29,000 generous donors, the fund has raised $3.36 million and shows no signs of slowing down.
Amazon & Whole Foods Market
Amazon and Whole Foods Market are supporting efforts by matching cash donations up to $1 million made to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief.
We are inspired by the lovelies at Biscuit Home who are donating bedding to a family in need for every repost! Make sure to tag them in your post and use the hashtag #beddingforhouston so they know how much to donate!
Texas Diaper Bank
(credit: ABC 13)
And we could never forget about our furry little friends:
The Houston Humane Society is partnering with Greater Good and Wings of Rescue to fly animals currently in shelters out of state to make more room for pets that have been lost or left behind.
For Those With Helping Hands
A post is circulating about the importance of giving whatever you can financially versus solely donating items that can cause a strain on local charities and that may or may not be put to good use. At this point in time, the city has an overwhelming need for just about everything and all non-perishable food items, clothing, and toiletries are currently welcome. With that being said, volunteers are asking that we be considerate about how those items are donated.
The manpower required to sort through donations (especially the clothing) is immense and they have a few tips for us all that will make their lives much, much easier:
1. Separate items out and clearly mark what’s inside of each bag (i.e. Female Clothing Size Large, Male Clothing Size Large, Baby Bottles, Canned Food).
2. If possible, organize a selection of sanitary items, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, sanitary napkins, cotton balls, etc. into separate Ziploc bags so that they are easier to hand out, putting supplies into the hands of the people you’re trying to help much more quickly.
3. Please do not donate non-essential goods like potted plants, kitchen wares, and decorative accents as the families affected by Hurricane Harvey do not have anywhere to keep those items at this time.
A current shelter and needs list can be found here and most Houston shelters are requesting the following:
With all of these incredible donations rolling in, the city is in need of volunteers who can help sort and distribute. Houstonia touches on that plus a few other ways you can make the most out of your time and energy:
- Deliver, sort, and help distribute donations at George R. Brown and neighborhood centers/shelters – You may not have money or goods to give, but, if your car is still operable, you can surely help deliver them!
- Remember your First Responders – The Houston Police Officers Union and the Houston Professionals Firefighter Union welcome gifts of clean/new underwear, socks, and freshly baked food goods.
- Think outside of the box – Don’t focus all of your energy on the bigger, well-known support efforts; there will be countless local organizations looking for support in the coming weeks and they need you!
Our love and support are with every single person affected by Hurricane Harvey. We stand strong by your side, we are rolling up our sleeves with millions of others to begin the healing process, and we have absolute faith that Houston will rise out of these waters more powerful and beautiful than ever.