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Harris County
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund Awards Grants
by Garrett Bryce w/photos courtesy City of Houston
Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett today held a news conference regarding the award of the first round of grants through the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to local non-profit organizations as part of efforts to support flood victims.

Turner and Emmett jointly started the fund after the storm, which caused severe flooding in Harris County and the region. Since its founding, the fund has raised approximately $77 million in donations.

“We decided early on that it didn't make any sense to have one fund for the city and one fund for the county,” Turner said. “And so we've been working together on everything else, it just made good common sense to work together on the fund, as well.” Listen (21:31)

Turner noted that donations are still being accepted for the fund.

Turner noted that a committee has been appointed to make sure the funds are distributed “quickly, but also responsibly and transparently.”

“That requires a fine balance between time and perfection,” Turner said, and noted that the initial round would go to “trusted non-profits.”

Emmett said that in their talks, Turner and he agreed that they had to ensure that the money would go where it would most help.

“We wanted to be sure it was not going to government operations, it wasn't going to go to just ordinary expenses, and the politicians weren't really going to be in charge of where it went,” Emmett said.

Emmett introduced the members of the board charged with distributing the funds.

Tony Chase, co-chair of the board and Chair and CEO of ChaseSource, spoke on the distribution of the funds.

Tony announced that $7.55 million in grants would be released today, or approximately 10 percent of the total fund, to 28 non-profits in the community. News Release

“We placed a particular emphasis on the critical need for temporary housing throughout the region,” Chase said. “I'm pleased that this money will go to help people in each and every zip code across the county.”

He noted that 60 percent of funds are going to “small organizations.”

Chase stated that the board is already working to develop a process to release further grants, stating he hoped to release another round within 30 days.

Martin Cominsky, president and CEO of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, also spoke.

“This is not the work of any one agency, but a partnership of all of us,” Cominsky said.

Cominsky thanked donors to the fund, which he said truly demonstrates “respect for thy neighbor.”

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