Houston is and always has been my home. I love this city and know that we will bounce back, rebuild, and help one another through this tough time. Speaking of time, I'm stuck out of town due to the flooding and have got a lot of it on my hands at the moment so I thought I'd post something helpful and relevant rather than the recipes and such I had scheduled for this week. Those can wait. Some folks can't even use their kitchens or get to the grocery store right now! Following are some resources I've pulled from around the internet that may be of use to you if you're stuck, bored or in need of hope. At the bottom are ideas and organizations for those outside of Houston or in Houston but not as severely impacted, who want to help.
Important Phone Numbers
- Centerpoint Energy: 1 (800) 752-8036
- COH Help Line: 311
- COH Office of Emergency Management: (713) 884-4500
- Elderly & Disabled Assistance: 211
- Evacuation Routes: 1 (800) 452-9292
- FEMA: 1 (800) 621-3362
- Houston TranStar: (713) 881-3000
- TX Attorney General: 1 (800) 621-0508
- Red Cross: (713) 526-8300
Things to Know
- List of free Airbnb spaces in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio for Harvey evacuees here (Airbnb is also waiving booking fees)
- Check road closures here.
- Download the Nextdoor app to stay in touch with neighbors
- Reliant has indicated they are not fulfilling any disconnection notices in the Houston area during this time.
- Verizon and many other carriers are waiving data overage charges for cell phone customers during this time.
- Xfinity is opening up hotspots all over the city. Find a map of hotspots here.
- Track natural gas outages across the city here.
- If you lost/lose your job due to Hurricane Harvey, apply for benefits here.
- Some loan servicers (home, auto, student, credit card, etc.) are offering interest-free forbearance or other arrangements during this time. Call your servicer to discuss options and eligibility.
- Similarly, mortgage, auto, and other lenders are offering payment relief for up to 90 days. Call to discuss.
- List of local shelters here
- Rent Cafe and Yardi are helping coordinate rentals and housing for displaced Houstonians here.
- This poem by a native Houstonian
- Read information about Texas HB 1774, which impacts property damage claims due to natural disasters filed after September 1st, here.
- The Uber app is up and running in Houston and offering free rides to and from shelters for those seeking shelter AND volunteers.
- IKEA is offering 15% off everything at the Houston store through October.
How to Help
Safe where you are and want to help? Here are organizations you can support and things you can do:
- Live map of places to volunteer here
- Set aside any clothing, canned goods, toiletries, school supplies, baby items, pet food/supplies, senior items, and/or bedding that you can donate for shipping or drop-off once the roads are clear.
- Many shelters are at capacity for donations or need very specific things like baby or medical items. Please call before dropping off.
- Grab-A-Bag Houston is a local, grassroots organization that is holding a super efficient drive to help gather and distribute supplies using Amazon Prime and bulk sizes. Join the Facebook group here or send an email to [email protected] for more information.
- Today, H-E-B stores statewide launched a tear-pad campaign in which shoppers at H-E-B, Central Market, and Joe V's can add $1, $3 or $5 to their grocery bill at checkout to add to a $100,000 commitment to Harvey victims.
- Volunteer Houston's Virtual Volunteer Reception Center matches interested volunteers with local organizations in need
- Donate to Mayor Turner's Hurricane Relief Fund here. These funds go directly to Harvey victims not aided by FEMA.
- Donate to JJ Watt's Hurricane Relief Fund here.
- Text "UWFLOOD" to 41444 to donate to the United Way Flood Fund
- Pearland ISD is holding a gift card donation drive to benefit students, families, and district employees impacted by flooding. You can mail or drop off gift cards to: the Virgil Grant Education Support Center (1928 N. Main, Pearland, TX 77581) and email Lexi Marshall at [email protected] (PISD is not accepting monetary donations at this time.)
Please share this with those it might help and add more information in the comments as you see fit. Thanks for reading!
P.S. Please forgive any typos or formatting issues. I wrote this post on my phone!