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Groups in Montgomery County, The Woodlands still giving funds for long-term Hurricane Harvey relief

January 5, 2019

Hurricane Harvey may have hit the region with more than 50 inches of rain over a year ago, but some families in Montgomery County are still dealing with effects from the storm.

At a round table meeting next week, United Way of Greater Houston’s Montgomery County Center is rallying community organizations at their office in The Woodlands to hear from disaster case managers about recovery needs still present in the county.

They’re doing so through a grant from the American Red Cross.

According to its website, the American Red Cross has given more than $60 million in donated funds toward community-based recovery services in the Texas Gulf Coast Region.

In this way, a county-wide long term recovery group MC Cares, a collaborative effort spearheaded by United Way of Greater Houston Montgomery County, was given a grant of $156,000 to issue direct financial assistance to Harvey-affected households with unmet needs.

Judi Foster with United Way of Greater Houston Montgomery County said that the organization invited other partners in because they wanted to be able to do more with the money they received.

So, those funds are to be combined with disaster relief funds still available from The Woodlands United Methodist Church, the Montgomery County Community Foundation and Interfaith of The Woodlands.

This is the third such meeting, and Interfaith’s Vice President of Programs Lucy Gomez said disaster case managers usually present around 10 cases from families they’re working with who are in the last phase of complete recovery.

“We’re at the stage of long-term disaster recovery and unmet needs. The last bit a family might need could be appliances or cabinets because they’ve exhausted all of the (other) funds,” Gomez said.

Gomez said the long-term recovery process started last fall, and she expects it to be ongoing as long as funds are available.

At the round table meeting, Gomez said United Way usually covers the initial cost of the cases they hear. Foster said United Way is able to give a maximum of $5,000 per case. Then, the other entities in attendance will step in to cover any estimated recovery balance on a case-by-case basis.

“It takes all of us together to meet those needs and push homeowners back to self-sufficiency in their recovery process,” Gomez said.

While Foster said she wasn’t sure how many families are still in need out of the thousands of Montgomery County homes that flooded during the hurricane, there are clearly still those who are recovering.

For example, Julie Martineau, executive director of the Montgomery County Community Foundation, said that the organization recently received more than 20 requests for recovery funds in just one afternoon.

Foster said another meeting is to be scheduled for February so case managers can report on work being done on their active cases.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

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