How to Help After Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey has caused massive damage in southeastern Texas with wind, spin off tornadoes, and now flooding. The storm already dropped an unprecedented amount of rain in the area — and it’s still falling. Most of the Selva Beat team is based in Austin and some of us have family in the most affected areas. I live in NYC, but have been through both Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy and I can tell you firsthand that the speed and quality of aid is critical when natural disasters strike. After evacuating for Katrina for what we thought would be a few days, my spouse and I wore donated clothes and lived in FEMA housing for months. And while tangible goods are at times needed, the best way to help is with money so that the people on the ground can use it for urgent and specific needs. Save those old clothes you don’t want for a swap with friends. Donate your canned goods to your local food bank. For a natural disaster outside of your area, open up your wallet, if you can. Tap into existing organizations and networks that already have the infrastructure to best serve those in need. (Though based on past performance, this is not The Red Cross.) Below is a list of organizations we love that are front and center for relief work. Please consider donating to them if you can.
This fund will provide relief to survivors in the form of emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help residents recover and rebuild. All donations to this fund will support recovery and relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey. Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations in the Gulf Coast.
Portlight Strategies facilitates a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. For Harvey, they are rallying stakeholders and working together to help get people to safety. They are also providing for any immediate needs for durable medical equipment and other assistive technology, responding to evacuation and sheltering issues, and problem-solving for a variety of immediate disability accessibility issues.
Austin Pets Alive! has been helping shelters in the direct line of Hurricane Harvey. They have already transported over 200 animals to their facility and are bracing for even more animals to arrive from shelter partners in areas hit hardest by the hurricane. Financial donations are the most needed, but you can also keep up with foster and donation needs here.
Direct Relief provides targeted assistance to help safety net providers prepare for and respond to emergencies. Response efforts — which include distribution of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, personal care items, equipment, and cash — are swift, involve local partners, and are coordinated with other nonprofit organizations and public health authorities to ensure the most effective use of resources.
The Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America are organizing aid efforts for those affected by the storm. They will be purchasing supplies such as water, food, and tarps to be delivered to those in need, as well as contacting local, on-the-ground organizations and plugging into their efforts.
Food banks are on the front lines providing relief to families that have lost access to nutritious food during a disaster. When a disaster is too much for one food bank to handle, Feeding Texas steps in to coordinate with the state and other providers so that relief reaches families quickly.
Serve the People — Austin is a group of workers, activists, and community members who offer material solutions to the inefficiencies of capitalism. They are calling on anyone who is able to assist flood relief efforts. They will be coordinating a response to help people clean up, keep their lives going, and make repairs. You can contribute financially here or through the button below. If you are in the area and want to lend a hand IRL, you can text (512) 522-9032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team Rubicon's primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, they aim to provide the greatest service and impact possible.
Airbnb is offering free housing for those evacuating Hurricane Harvey, between now and Sept. 1. If you have a place within driving distance, offer it up for evacuees to use. If you are in need of a place, here is a list of available residences in the San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas metro areas from hosts who were willing to let Harvey evacuees stay in their homes for free.
And remember, Houston will get most of the coverage, but many communities in southeastern Texas need help. If you don’t have the means to send money, share this article and send good vibes to Texas — they need all the help they can get!