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Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund

Disaster declaration made

From the inbox:

HoustonSeal

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office today confirmed that President Obama has approved the governor’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Fayette, Grimes, Harris and Parker counties. The action paves the way for federal recovery assistance to begin flowing into the Houston area.

“I hope this leads to help for all of our residents who were impacted by the flooding, including our most vulnerable residents in the 17 apartment complexes in the Greenspoint area,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Many of these families have lost everything and they do not have the financial means to recover. They have a whole host of needs that include housing, transportation and more. I urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be flexible in its decision making regarding assistance for these residents.”

More than 1900 apartment units were damaged in the 17 complexes in Greenspoint. Approximately 200 of these units took in as much as six feet of water. In addition, hundreds of single-family homes in Houston along White Oak and Brays Bayous also suffered extensive damage.

Houston residents and business owners who sustained losses in Harris County can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or by a web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov.

The City of Houston has established a website to help residents navigate the disaster recovery process, which includes the latest information from FEMA, as well as ways to receive and give help following the flooding. Visit houstonrecovers.org for more information.

Here’s the Chron story. If you or someone you know has been affected by this flood, do be sure you get the help you need.

Also of interest for county residents:

The Harris County engineering department has opened a phone line for residents seeking information on permits and inspections they may need to rebuild flood-damaged homes.

Residents can call 713-274-3880 from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

Depending on where residents live and the type of structural repair necessary, they might need an inspection and development permit from the county. County officials are encouraging people to call the number to sort out what steps they need to take.

Again, please get all the help you need, and take all necessary steps to protect yourself from unscrupulous operators who would try to cheat or deceive you in making repairs.

Storm debris collection begins in Houston neighborhoods

From the inbox:

HoustonSeal

Beginning Saturday, April 23, 2016 the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department and private contractors working on the City’s behalf will begin storm debris collection in the single-family neighborhoods impacted by Monday’s flooding. This includes the following areas.

  • Acres Homes
  • Alabonson
  • Chateau Forest
  • Kempwood/Bingle, Hollister
  • Larchmont
  • Link Meadow
  • Linkwood
  • Meyerland
  • Spring Branch, Blalock, Gessner, Hemstead
  • Westbury

The City asks residents to help by separating everything into the following six categories.

  • Normal Household Trash – Normal household trash and bagged debris of any kind will not be picked up with debris as part of this program. You should continue to follow your normal garbage schedule.
  • Vegetative Debris – leaves (do not put in bags), logs, plants, tree branches
  • Construction & Demolition Debris – building materials, carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, mattresses, and plumbing
  • Appliances & White Goods – air conditioners, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and water heaters
  • Electronics – computers, radios, stereos, televisions, other devices with a cord
  • Household Hazardous Waste – cleaning supplies, batteries, lawn chemical, oils, oil-based paints, stains and pesticides

Residents should not place debris piles near other objects like fire hydrants and mailboxes or under power lines or low hanging branches that would interfere with the collection equipment.

The City is also continuing to help with debris removal from inside 17 privately-owned apartment complexes in the Greenspoint area.

And in other news:

It took until the wee hours of the morning, but all remaining flood evacuees who had been sheltering at M.O. Campbell Center have now been relocated into hotel rooms and the shelter has been closed. Well over 150 families are being provided hotel rooms for up to three weeks at a cost of about $150,000. The City is using the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund to cover the costs.

“I promised we would get everyone out of the shelters by the weekend and we have kept that promise,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “These families have been sleeping on cots in a high school gymnasium since last Monday. They have lost everything and have nowhere else to go. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in this time of need. That means providing a warm bed on which to lay their heads, showers and privacy.”

Catholic Charities and the American Red Cross are working to coordinate meals for the hotel guests. Yellow Cab and METRO assisted with the massive transportation effort from the shelter to the hotels. Everyone was placed in hotels in the immediate Greenspoint area so their children are in close proximity to their schools. The hotel accommodations are meant to be temporary housing until apartment repairs are finished or alternative units have been identified.

Approximately 1800 apartment units suffered minimal to major flood damage in the Greenspoint area. The apartment owners have 400 workers on site making repairs. In addition, the City has stepped in to help with debris removal so it does not pile up and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Debris collection begins today in the single-family areas impacted by the floods. 20 contract crews are working seven days a week with the City’s solid waste staff in nine neighborhoods. They are unable to get to the Kingwood/Forest Cove areas because flood waters remain high.

Donations for the relief effort are being accepted through the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund at www.houstonrecovers.org. The donations will stay in our community and be used to help storm victims and relief organizations in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties

The Mayor’s office is also partnering with Airbnb, which has asked its hosts in Houston to share for free any extra space they have. The temporary accommodations are available to displaced residents and volunteers here helping with the relief effort. The offer is good from now until May 14. Listings of the available housing can be found at https://www.airbnb.com/disaster-response.

Glad to hear it. The Chron story on this is here, and as always, don’t read the comments if you want to maintain any faith in humanity. The Rockets made a $500,000 donation to The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund before Thursday’s game. Hopefully many others will follow that lead.

The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund

From the inbox:

After receiving calls from corporations and others who want to help financially, Mayor Sylvester Turner is establishing The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund, to accept flood relief donations.

“We’ve been hearing from residents who are confused about where they should donate to get assistance directly to the residents of our city who are suffering, said Mayor Turner. “The creation of this fund will ensure the dollars donated stay in our community. The fund will focus on aiding storm victims and relief organizations in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties.”

Mayor Turner thanked Waste Management for making a $50,000 donation, the first since the fund’s creation.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501 (c)(3)nonprofit public charity, will administer the fund at no cost, so 100% of all donations will go toward helping flood victims. However, online credit card donations will be assessed a small fee, typically 3%, by the credit card companies. Donors have the option of increasing their credit card donations to cover this fee.

To donate, go to www.houstonrecovers.org and follow the instructions.

Donation instructions are here. If you’re looking for a way to help, this is a pretty good one.

Also from the inbox:

Commissioner Gene L. Locke’s crews will be picking up water-soaked debris that people re-move from their homes in unincorporated areas. Workers also will remove trees that have fallen on streets and sidewalks. Here’s how the program works:

Residents can place furniture, carpet and other items on curbside
Inform Commissioner Locke’s office about downed trees
Call Precinct One at 713-991-6881

In addition to the flood recovery that Precinct One is conducting in unincorporated areas of Harris County, Commissioner Locke has spoken with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and pledged to provide debris removal resources in portions of the city limits that are located in Precinct One.

A copy of the Commissioner’s flyer is here. Cleanup is a huge job, so if you’re in Precinct 1 and you need the help, reach out and get it.

In other news: Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said he would lead a project to develop a barrier system to prevent people from repeatedly driving into high water areas. Joke if you want, but three of the eight deaths reported in the Houston area attributed to the flooding happened in underpasses like these. If there’s something we can do to prevent them, we should.

The Addicks and Barker reservoirs are at record levels, and roads near them will be under water, likely for several days. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Mayor Turner was scheduled to give his first State of the City address this past Monday. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Sometime between now and whenever that gets rescheduled, he will be appointing a flooding czar. That person will have “the sole responsibility of pulling together all the different stakeholders and coming up with a definitive plan on how to address flooding in the city of Houston.” Best of luck to whoever that is.

Finally, if you’re still thinking about helping out, give a thought to the folks in Greenspoint who were flooded out. They could definitely use a little help right now.