Houston, We Love You.


For those of us that do not live in hurricane territory, it's difficult to imagine the devastation that is currently going on in Houston, TX. We see the photos of the elderly, stranded up to the chest in water. (They've been rescued, by the way!)  We read heartbreaking stories from families who have lost their homes, their cars, and feared for their lives. We see the pleas for donations and prayers and compassion, but when you're on the outside, it's hard to know how exactly you can help.

I've never been to Houston and while I want to help, my voice is not the one that should be speaking here. I asked my lovely friend and current Houston resident, Koryn, to write whatever was on her heart. (I love Koryn and her beautiful little family a lot and am so thankful that they are safe.)

A lot of people outside of Texas have very little concept of the Fourth Largest City in the US. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the entire US. It’s a huge melting pot, a thriving metropolis, it’s got everything, food from any country you can think of, as well as people. It’s totally international. We’ve had a democratic mayor for probably as long as most millennials have been alive, and for the last few years it’s been my home. It’s lush greenery and beautiful skyline surprise a lot of out of towners. People stop you on the street and ask how you are, and they genuinely mean it; Because that’s the kind of town Houston is.

Over the last few days we’ve seen flooding on the news, Hurricane Harvey has levelled entire cities in its wake, Port Arthur and Rockport have seen catastrophic damages. Houston and the surrounding suburbs are as large as the entire state of Connecticut and have twice the population. The damage there is unimaginable, we still don’t know how many people we’ve lost. This is probably the largest natural disaster that we’ve seen in our lifetimes and watching Houston come together over the last few days has been awe inspiring. Several thousands of people have lost their homes, most of the rescues have been done by citizens with privately owned boats. It’s not over yet. As more rain is forecast and more people flood as reservoirs go through perilous controlled releases on from our aging dams, this Space City is going to need help. Houston is tough, Houston is strong, but we definitely need help.
— Koryn Coalson, Houston Resident

I wanted to donate to a relief fund but wasn't sure where to even begin finding legitimate ones. I've compiled a list of reputable charities, pulled from various articles, facebook posts from those in the storm, and suggestions from Koryn. I would love for this to be a live document, so if I have missed anything, please let me know and I'll add it.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established this Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund for victims that have been affected by the recent floods.

Hurrican Harvey LGBTQ+ Disaster Fund: Houston's Montrose Center - a prominent LGBTQ+ counseling and community center - is managing this campaign to aid LGBTQ+ community members that have been displaced by the storm. They are very close to their $250,000 fundraising goal. Let's help push them over!

Harvey - Money for the People: A live document listing additional fundraising groups compiled by Houstonian Selina Pishori. This list will be continuously updated moving forward.

Houston Food Bank: Through the Houston Food Bank site, you can donate money, donate food and supplies, and volunteer to help distribute to those who have been displaced. They've included a list of their most needed items.

Houston Food Not Bombs: Food Not Bombs provides vegetarian and vegan meals for those in need. They're a fantastic anti-violence organization that's been in business since 1994 with no government funding. They need volunteers to help prepare food and pick up donations.

Houston Furniture Bank: We currently don't have an accurate number on how many families have lost their homes and been displaced. Through Houston Furniture Bank, you can organize a furniture drive, donate whatever pieces you can spare, and donate to help these families get back on their feet.

Texas Diaper Bank: Through this page, you can donate money and supplies so that they can provide emergency diaper kits for displaced families.

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center: As of this moment, this blood drive center is full-up on donors (good job, guys!) but keep an eye on the site. They should be taking appointments again soon.

Houston SPCA: The Houston SPCA has set up an Animal Emergency Response hotline as well as a donation page. It also provides Disaster Preparation lists, detailing how to keep your animal pals safe. This facebook group, Austin Pets Alive!, is also collecting donations to aid rescue efforts for stranded companions.

Resource Guide for those in Houston: Another live document, this compilation of links includes (but is not limited to): accurate weather updates, evacuation information, emergency numbers, shelter information, road closures, accessible food, legal counsel, and resources for infants, disabled folks, and mental health needs.