Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the creation of an Imelda Assistance Fund, aimed at collecting donations through local nonprofits for recovery assistance from tropical depression Imelda.
“We want to rebuild quicker than ever and that’s what we’re here today to do by setting up this fund,” Hidalgo said at a press conference Sept. 23.
The fund, which is modeled after the Harvey Recovery Fund created after Hurricane Harvey, is run by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Residents interested in donating or applying for assistance can visit www.ghcf.org/Imelda
Those affected by the storm can visit one of two recovery centers for help navigating insurance claims, applying for recovery funds, accessing legal aid and finding temporary housing, Hidalgo said.
The recovery centers are located at Kingwood United Methodist Church and the Grayson Community Center.
Another aspect of the initiative aims to get residents interested in helping with recovery efforts connected with nonprofits throughout Harris County. At www.readyharris.org, residents can find ways to volunteer and partner with nonprofit groups.
“Even if you weren’t affected, you have a role in this,” Hidalgo said.
Several contributors have already donated to the fund including Comcast, AT&T, and NRG Energy. H-E-B donated $150,000, Turner said.
Hidalgo also recognized the role that Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale played in both Harvey and Imelda recovery when he offered to open his business, Gallery Furniture, for use as a temporary shelter.
“You were such a symbol during Harvey and we appreciate you stepping up to help the community,” Hidalgo said.
As the Greater Houston Community Foundation begins work soliciting donations from businesses and residents, Turner and Hidalgo said they are beginning damage assessment efforts that could result in a federal disaster designation that would secure funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.