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New fund helps Houstonians in critical need during coronavirus crisis

New fund helps Houstonians in critical need during coronavirus crisis

Houston rooftops overhead view sky drone
A new fund will pump more than $1 million into local organizations set to help those in need.   Photo courtesy of Greater Houston Recovery Fund

As the jobless rate in America soars to 3.28 million and some 800,000 Texans slam the Texas Workforce Commission’s lines, two major local nonprofits have teamed up to offer some relief to struggling Houstonians during the coronavirus pandemic.

United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation have joined forces to establish the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund to help those in critical need. All monies raised will be used to help with immediate basic needs. All monies raised will be used to help with immediate basic needs, according to a press release.

The Houston Endowment is making a lead gift of $1 million to the fund and pledged an additional challenge gift of $1 million, which will match $1 for every $4 dollars raised. Additional leading Houston organizations who have pledged gifts to the fund include: JP Morgan Chase - $100,000; Houston Texans Foundation - $100,000, and Wells Fargo Foundation - $150,000.

“Nearly half of the households in our Greater Houston area struggle daily to make ends meet and the sudden loss of work, wages and child care can be a devastating financial hardship,” said Anna M. Babin, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston. “Our primary goal is to make sure the most vulnerable in our community affected by COVID-19 have access to food, health care, shelter and other basic necessities to sustain them in this crisis.”   

These monies will be funneled to services provided by trusted nonprofit partners who have proven experience and the systems in place to serve the community in times of disaster; residents in need can then approach said agencies directly, according to a spokesperson for the United Way.

For more assistance, Houstonians can call 2-1-1, which provides the most updated information on assistance with utilities, housing or rental assistance, crisis counseling, access to senior services, and information on food pantries in the community.

The recovery fund has been endorsed by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. It is co-chaired by Jamey Rootes, board chair, United Way of Greater Houston and president of the Houston Texans; and by Tony Chase, board member, Greater Houston Community Foundation and chairman and CEO of ChaseSource, LP.