While the worst of Houston's historic — and freakish — storm has passed, the aftermath has left the city in a fragile state. But organizations and businesses are jumping in to help in all sorts of positive ways.
UnitedHealth Care is offering an emotional-support line that is free of charge and open to anyone. Operated by Optum, a leading health and behavioral health services company, the toll toll-free number, 866-342-6892, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists offer guidance on how to manage stress and anxiety in order to address everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.
Crisis Intervention of Houston provides the city's only 24-hour hotline for those who wish to speak with a crisis counselor confidentially and anonymously about any issue, including stress and anxiety over recent events. Counselors are available via telephone at 713-468-5463, or easy-to-remember 713-HOTLINE. The service is free.
Attorneys from the Houston Bar Association will answer questions and provide legal advice over the phone for those in the Houston area affected by the recent floods and severe weather during an extended LegalLine program from noon until 9 p.m. on June 3. Call 713-759-1133 to speak to an attorney knowledgeable in insurance matters, property, landlord/tenant law, contracts, disaster assistance and other consumer issues.
LegalLine is normally held on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 5-9 p.m., giving area residents the opportunity to call in and speak to volunteer attorneys for answers to legal questions, brief legal advice and other resources.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, in partnership with Jewish Family Service, has launched a fund-raising drive to help the most vulnerable devastated by the Houston flooding. Donations can be accepted on the organization's website.
The organization is also recruiting volunteers who can assist with physical labor at firstname.lastname@example.org and collecting gift cards for $50, $100, $200 or $500 good at groceries, pharmacies, big box stores like Target, Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot. Gift cards can be dropped off at Jewish Family Service, 4131 S. Braeswood Blvd., Houston, TX 77025. Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Items, including bottled water, work gloves, plastic storage bins, heavy trash bags, heavy duty razor blades to rip out carpet, cleaning supplies including old towels, can be dropped off at the Jewish Community Center, 5601 S. Braeswood Blvd, Houston, 77096.
M Penner is donating 10 percent of all sales through Saturday to local organizations assisting flood victims.
Mayor Annise Parker announced that storm debris collection in the hardest hit areas will begin Saturday (May 30). Residents are asked to separate discarded items into the following six categories and place each pile at the curb away from mailboxes, fire hydrants, water meters, electrical lines and other impediments.
- Normal Household Trash - Normal household trash and bagged debris of any kind will not be picked up with debris as part of this program. You should continue to follow your normal garbage schedule.
- Vegetative Debris – leaves (do not put in bags), logs, plants, tree branches.
- Construction & Demolition Debris – building materials, carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, mattresses, and plumbing.
- Appliances & White Goods – air conditioners, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and water heaters.
- Electronics – computers, radios, stereos, televisions, other devices with a cord.
- Household Hazardous Waste – cleaning supplies, batteries, lawn chemical, oils, oil-based paints, stains and pesticides.
- Additional information and instruction for debris placement can be found at www.houstonsolidwaste.org, or the Solid Waste Management Department’s Facebook page.
Weekly garbage, yard waste and curbside recycling services that did not occur this week due to the flooding will return to their normal collection schedules as follows:
- Monday and Tuesday garbage that was not collected will occur on their regularly scheduled days next week, beginning June 1.
- Missed yard waste will be collected on its regularly scheduled day next week, beginning June 1.
Missed recycling will be picked up on its next scheduled recycling collection date.