FAQ

INDIVIDUALS SEEKING ASSISTANCE

Where can people go to apply for assistance?

If you need help recovering from the winter storm, call 211 any time, 24/7/365.

Click here to view a resource guide prepared by United Way of Greater Houston.

Who will be eligible for funds?

The Fund is providing grants to nonprofit partners that are focused on helping the most vulnerable families recover, including households without insurance, are ineligible for federal assistance, or who have unmet financial needs. As private funds are raised, the Advisory Board and Grants Committee are gathering up-to-date information on needs and gaps to determine eligibility and that will be shared publicly soon. There will be a concerted effort to complement FEMA federal assistance, and we encourage impacted families to apply to FEMA now.

I am an individual who has been affected by the winter storm. Can this Fund help me?

We understand many individuals and families have been affected by the winter storm. While the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund is not able to provide grants directly to individuals, we will be funding community-based organizations that have a longstanding history and robust experience in providing people and families with services and support.

Will undocumented families or mixed status households be eligible to be served?

Yes. The goal of the fund is to help the most vulnerable who have been impacted, regardless of immigration status.

If I’m outside of Harris County and the City of Houston, where can I get assistance?

While the Fund is focused on serving those in the City of Houston and/or Harris County, other help may be available in your area. Call 211 to find out about available resources. The 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE connects our neighbors with help 24/7/365 and is our community’s go-to resources in times of disaster. 211 can connect you with food, child care, transportation, and other social services, critical information, and community resources.

United Way will continue to accept donations for needs in the outlying areas of Fort Bend, Montgomery and Waller Counties and will make investments in those areas as resources become available.

HELPING OUR NEIGHBORS

How do I make a donation?

We hope that you will consider donating to the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund to support the most vulnerable individuals and families impacted by the winter storm.

Make a credit card donation online or be texting HOUSTONFREEZE to 51555.

GHCF donors can recommend a grant to the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund by submitting a grant request, via their online donor portal, with the payee as GHCF and the fund name in the grant purpose field. Donors can also email their Relationship Manager with the following information to make an inter-fund transfer request:

  • comes from a donor advisor of the fund
  • lists the fund name the grant is being requested from
  • lists the grant amount, and
  • list the Winter Storm Fund

For those unsure of their Relationship Manager, you can email this information to relief@ghcf.org.

Donate by bank transfer

Financial Institution Information
JPMorgan Chase
712 Main, 9th Floor North Houston, TX 77002
Banking Officer: Aryn K. De Lisi, 713-216-0223
Account Type: Checking
Bank Routing # for EFT/ACH: 111000614
Bank Routing # for Wire: 021000021
Account Number: 101838168
Swift Code: CHASUS33

Organization Information
United Way of Greater Houston
P.O. Box 3247, Houston, TX 77253-3247
50 Waugh Drive, Houston, TX 77007
Taxpayer ID Number: 74-1167964
DUNS: 041122474

Please send remittance advice to: pledgepmts@unitedwayhouston.org.

Mail in a donation

As part of our efforts to maintain social distancing, we encourage you to take advantage of one of our online giving options. If you are not able to and would like to make a gift by check, please write “Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund” in the memo field and mail your donation to:

United Way of Greater Houston
P. O. Box 3247
Houston, Texas 77253-3247

PLEASE NOTE: Even though we are operating at our usual pace, please be aware that the U.S. Postal Service may experience delays in delivery.

Can I designate my donation to go to a certain organization?

The Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund is a general fund to support the most vulnerable populations in need and the nonprofit organizations that effectively serve them in times of disaster. We encourage you to give directly to any specific providers you would like to support.

Can I donate supplies to United Way of Greater Houston or Greater Houston Community Foundation?

No. United Way of Greater Houston and Greater Houston Community Foundation do not accept supplies or other in-kind donations.

How can I volunteer?

We’re all in this together. We encourage you to visit Volunteer Houston for a robust list of nonprofit organizations that are seeking volunteers.

HOUSTON HARRIS COUNTY WINTER STORM RELIEF FUND

Who established the fund?

The Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund was established to provide support and relief to those impacted by extreme winter weather in the Harris County and City of Houston area (which may include City residents in Fort Bend of Montgomery County). The fund was established by Mayor Turner and Harris County Lina Hidalgo and is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Houston.

Is there a geographic area of focus for the Fund?

The Fund will be used to serve residents in the City of Houston and/or Harris County. City of Houston residents may include residents in Fort Bend or Montgomery counties. Together, United Way of Greater Houston and Greater Houston Community Foundation have deep experience in this region. These organizations are familiar with the landscape and needs in these communities, have relationships with proven service providers, and can swiftly direct resources to community-based partners in each county.

What is the role of the Advisory Board and who is on it?

A fund advisory board will lead fundraising efforts to support the Grants Committee in distributing funding to nonprofit partners with a laser-like focus on home repair and related relief and recovery efforts. Mayor Turner and Judge Hidalgo each appointed four advisory board members.

Chair: Dave Lesar, President & CEO of CenterPoint Energy
Ric Campo, Camden Property Trust
Jim Crane, Houston Astros
Bill Jackson, Harris County Precinct 4
Jason Johnson, MetroNational
Scott McClelland, HEB
Cal McNair, Houston Texans
Jacob Monty, Monty & Ramirez LLP
Gretchen Watkins, Shell Oil Company

What is the role of the Grants Committee and who is on it?

The Grants Committee will be co-chaired by Tony Chase, Chairman & CEO of ChaseSource, LP and GHCF Board Member, and Donna Sims Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of Kah Capital Management and UWGH Board Member, and supported by staff and philanthropic professionals who will develop and execute a grant making strategy and approve grants to nonprofit partners.

Committee Members:

Tony Chase, GHCF Board
Donna Sims Wilson, UWGH Board
Laura Jaramillo, GHCF Board
Y. Ping Sun, UWGH Board
Renee Wizig-Barrios, GHCF
Mary Vazquez, UWGH
Diana Zarzuelo, GHCF
Angel Harris, UWGH

Extended Staff Team

A team of non-voting staff will join the Grants Committee as needed to help review grant requests and provide staffing support.

Annie Hurwitz, GHCF
Andrea Mays, GHCF
Margaret Oser, UWGH
Curtis McMinn, UWGH

What types of calls and volume of calls are you getting to 211?

In 2020, 211 answered 1.4 million inquiries for assistance. For 2021, 211 has responded to over 186,000 connections. Top needs include: food assistance, COVID testing and vaccines, utility assistance and rent assistance.

During the Texas Severe Weather event, 211 responded to over 12,000 inquiries for assistance, with about 5,000 of those from the Harris County area. Top needs were for rent assistance, warming centers/shelters, and food assistance. The volume was slower at first due to extreme power outages and limited cell coverage, but the call volume is increasing now that power has been restored.

What data are you using other than 211 to assess the needs?

Through its Understanding Houston initiative and research partnerships, the Greater Houston Community Foundation is gathering data and information to analyze needs and gaps that will inform the Fund’s grantmaking strategy, to be approved by the Advisory Board. We will compile data and analysis from multiple partners, including the United Way of Greater Houston, government partners at the City of Houston, Harris County, and FEMA; and nonprofit partners who are in close contact with neighbors in need.

We encourage nonprofit partners to consider completing this Nonprofit/Organization Action Survey, developed by the Harris County Long-Term Recovery Committee Steering Committee, to share current service status, needs, and ability to further partner on the Winter Storm relief and recovery efforts. This data will be summarized and shared publicly, informing relief and recovery efforts.

We encourage residents to complete this 2021 Winter Storm Needs Assessment Survey, developed and administered by Connective, a nonprofit disaster recovery and preparedness system for the Texas Gulf Coast Region, to share more detail on their current needs and connect via text to emerging resources, including how to apply for assistance from nonprofit partners that receive grants from the Fund. [f]

How quickly do you anticipate deploying funds?

All partners prioritize urgency while being thoughtful about how funds are deployed to complement existing resources and local/federal assistance. We are preparing to make grants to nonprofit partners as soon as donations are received.

We anticipate the first round of grants to be recommended by the Grants Committee and approved by the Advisory Board within 30 days of the Fund’s launch, sooner if possible.

What types of assistance will the fund provide and how much per individual/family?

The Advisory Board and Grants Committee will make that determination and that information will be shared soon.

Will you share information on who received funding?

Yes. Both organizations place a high value on oversight and transparency. An update will be provided on the fund website as it becomes available.

Is there a fee to contribute?

There is no fee to contribute. There is a nominal administrative fee of 5% of the total amount donated that will cover costs to administer the funds and provide necessary fund oversight. Those who donate by credit card will incur a processing fee and will have the option of covering the processing fees on top of their donation.