“Just because the power is on and the water pressure is up,” that doesn’t mean people aren’t still suffering from last week’s winter storm, Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a Monday afternoon press conference. Many Houston families’ homes were devastated by frozen and bursting pipes, with ceilings caving in, flooding, and other water damages, which will likely take months to fully recover from, especially for marginalized populations, like seniors and those without insurance.

To help those most impacted, Turner today announced the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund, which will focus on relief and recovery efforts across the city and county. The fund is dedicated to filling the gaps not met by other local and federal funds as recovery continues in the coming weeks and months, Turner said.

“We’re all in this together,” he said, “and we’ll figure it out together.”

The fund will be run by United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which will oversee grants that will help families in need and support nonprofits that “can help with plumbing and home repairs, temporary housing, and other basic needs relief.” There will be an emphasis on smaller organizations, especially BIPOC groups, serving the community and grassroots groups.

Houston has been here before, Turner said, remarking that after Hurricane Harvey, there were many unmet needs in the community. This fund is supposed to help fix that. He praised the city’s resiliency, which seems to have the ability to weather natural disasters written into its DNA.

“Since I’ve been mayor,” he said, "I have seen storms come, and I have seen storms go, and people continue to stand.”

More information about the fund will be made available at a later date, but Turner asked the community to start making donations now.

“To the extent you can, if you will share just a little bit of what you have, for those who are struggling right now in our city and in Harris County,” he urged. 

To learn more about the fund, text HOUSTONFREEZE to 898211. To make a donation, click here.