United Way of Greater Houston’s Role
Year-round, United Way invests in our community’s first responders so they are ready to respond when disaster strikes, and we support immediate relief efforts throughout our community following a disaster.
When the debris is cleared and the first responders have gone, United Way’s role as the leader of long-term recovery in our area begins. United Way convenes and works with our community’s social service providers to assess the needs, identify partners to help meet them, invest in the services needed, and provide ongoing resources and support.
Our long-term recovery work is focused on disaster case management; minor home repair; behavioral health; and meeting unmet needs, those needs preventing full recovery for which other assistance is not available.
We have convened long-term disaster recovery committees in each of the counties we serve. The disaster recovery committees include faith community, non-profit organizations and government representatives from the city and county. We work together with these and other partners to assess needs and coordinate resources and response.
Long-term recovery will be costly and will take years. United Way will be here for the long haul.
United Way Relief Fund Grants
Thanks to the generosity of so many, contributions to the United Way Relief Fund have topped $44 million. We are so grateful for those who made major gifts to the United Way Relief Fund and the thousands of others whose contributions large and small will help our community recover. 100% of every gift to the United Way Relief Fund will help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
United Way of Greater Houston’s Harvey Task Force approved the first round of investments for immediate relief, $5.7 million from the relief fund to support immediate basic needs assistance and disaster case management. A select group of assistance ministries and agencies from Harris, Fort Bend, Waller and Montgomery counties, all with experience in meeting basic needs and providing disaster case management, are receiving this initial investment. See all of the United Way Relief Fund grantees.
2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE
If you or someone you know needs help, dial 2-1-1 any time, day or night. Last year alone, our 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE connected nearly 973,000 callers with the help they needed.
To date, the 2-1-1 network has answered more than 309,000 Harvey-related calls. For the first time ever, our 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE brought in volunteers to help meet the needs of the high volume of callers. Thank you to all those who helped us answer our neighbors' call s for help!
In times of disaster and every day, the 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is our community’s go-to resource. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, HELPLINE specialists connect callers with the help they need, from emergency shelter and evacuation information to help with basic needs, like food. During times of disaster, 2-1-1 maintains up-to-date information on shelters and other essential resources, and facilitates STEAR (State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry), which provides local emergency planners and emergency responders with information on those who need assistance in case of an evacuation.
After the Storm
United Way of Greater Houston created After the Storm, a resource guide to help our neighbors recover from Hurricane Harvey. We distributed 235,000 copies in English and Spanish through shelters, our agencies, and other organizations. You can also find the guide online.
With so many people wanting to donate goods and with unprecedented need, United Way of Greater Houston partnered with the Houston Food Bank and acquired a 140,000 square foot warehouse, enabling us to collect and distribute much-needed items like diapers, socks, and cleaning supplies.
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