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Charities helped with the repair of homes, other needs after Harvey

HOUSTON – In the years after the Hurricane, Harvey caused major flooding and damage along the Texas Gulf Coast and in and around Houston, non-profit organizations and charities have been busy with the filling of the holes in the support that the government may not have covered.

The largest groups brought a total of almost $1 billion for Harvey illumination, according to an Associated Press tally . Two-thirds of that money is distributed or allotted to specific recovery efforts.

Although the groups have raised a lot of money, it is a fraction of what is needed. After coming ashore Aug. 25, 2017, as a Category 4 hurricane, Harvey lingered for days, the killing of 68 people, the dumping of more than 60 inches (1,524 millimeters) of rain in some parts of Texas and the cause of an estimated $125 billion dollars in damage.

The American Red Cross raised $523 million in cash, goods and services, which was the most of any group. It has spent or allocated $397 million of that money. In addition to the care of people who were displaced by the storm, the Red Cross gave grants of up to $2,000 to affected households.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation, which ran from the fund approved by the city of Houston and surrounding Harris County, has distributed almost all of the $114 million.

LaMecia Butler, the foundation’s coordinator for Harvey subsidies, said that her organization has coordinated with many others, to try to meet the different needs of the victims. The foundation spent nearly $47 million on temporary housing and home repair, which is the largest expenditure.

“We all wanted to ensure there was as much coverage of the needs as possible,” she said.

The Reconstruction of Texas Fund, founded by the family foundation of computer magnate Michael Dell, raised $100 million and is spread over half of that money 156 different causes, including providing school supplies for the coastal communities and “emotional healing and resilience training” for a group of adults and young people.

Anna Babin, president and CEO of the United Greater Houston, said her agency has increased from $51 million after the Hurricane and Harvey has spent about $24.5 million. The group spent $10 million on small home repairs; $4 million in unmet needs for things such as home and work uniforms; and $2.4 million on the provision of basics such as food, shelter, and utilities.

In the Port Arthur area, more than $600,000 was raised by the United Way of Mid and South Jefferson County, said Janie Johnson, the group’s executive director. The money has gone to the supply of building materials, household appliances, furniture, and utility and rent assistance programs.

“There’s so many other organizations which arose from the fact that here for the storm as well as others that have. It is a collective work, but there is just so much work to do,” Johnson said.

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