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National Postal Mail Handlers Union A Division of LIUNA (AFL-CIO)

Media Center / News

Aug 30

Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Resources and Information

We have compiled a list of resources that are available to help Postal Service employees and civilians affected by Hurricane Harvey and other disasters.

Postal Employees

USPS responds to devastating storm (USPS Link Publication)

• The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF) is available to help active and retired management and craft employees when their homes are damaged or destroyed by a hurricane, tornado, flood wildfire or earthquake.

PERF provides applicants with small relief grants to help re-establish a residence and replace basic necessities.

However, PERF is not an emergency relief or immediate needs replacement organization like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross or insurance companies that are paid to replace property.

• The USPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to help employees and their families cope with life-altering disasters, resulting changes at work and other matters.

EAP is available online and by phone at 800-327-4968 (TTY: 877-492-7341), 24 hours a day. Counselors are always available.

The PERF and EAP sites have more information.

OPTUM (Behavioral health) is offering a free emotional-support help line to affected individuals. The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.

Union Plus- Union Plus Disaster Relief Grants

General Relief

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established a Harvey relief fund at The Greater Houston Community Foundation. The organization connects donors with a network of nonprofits and innovative solutions in the social sector.

GlobalGiving, which calls itself the largest global crowdfunding community, has a goal of raising $2 million for its Harvey relief fund. Funds will be used first for immediate needs of food, water and shelter and then transition to long-term recovery efforts.

United Way of Greater Houston has launched a relief fund for storm-related needs and recovery. The organization says it already maintains a disaster relief fund but anticipates the needs of Harvey will far exceed those existing resources.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has also launched a Hurricane Harvey relief fund. The organization says its strategy emphasizes "investing well rather than investing quickly, addressing the greatest needs and gaps in funding that may be yet to emerge."

The Salvation Army says it is providing food and water to first responders and preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents.

Send Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief says its teams began responding before Harvey made landfall and continues on-the-ground relief work.

Samaritan's Purse is accepting donations as well as volunteers for Harvey disaster relief for the coming months.

The American Red Cross is working around the clock along the Gulf Coast to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by Tropical Storm Harvey.

Shelter

Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County coordinates the city's response to homelessness, serving as "a backbone organization" to groups that offer direct service. It has been providing updated information on shelters with available beds.

Airbnb has set up an urgent accommodations site, where people can open their homes to evacuees from the storm or find shelter themselves. Service fees are waived for those who check in by Sept. 1.

Rescue and evacuation

  • Find an open shelter near you by texting SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362). You can also use the FEMA mobile app.
  • Call the United Way Helpline at 211 for information on shelters and other forms of assistance.

Food

A number of food banks will be aiding the affected region. Consider donating money instead of food, as it allows a food bank to use your donation most efficiently.

Feeding Texas is a statewide nonprofit that works alongside state and federal relief efforts. The organization says it steps in during major disasters to "coordinate with the state and other providers so that relief reaches families quickly and the 'second disaster' of an unorganized response is avoided."

Here is its list of food banks in Texas likely to be affected by Harvey:

Houston Food Bank

Galveston Food Bank

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)

Corpus Christi Food Bank

Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)

Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)

Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)

San Antonio Food Bank

People with Disabilities

Portlight Strategies facilitates projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. The organization says its hotline for Inclusive Disaster Strategies has received urgent requests from people in need.

Kids

The Texas Diaper Bank, based in San Antonio, works to meet the basic needs of vulnerable babies, children with disabilities, and seniors. It focuses on providing partner agencies with diapers and goods.

Animals

The SPCA of Texas is organizing evacuations of pets in Texas (including 123 cats from a shelter in Corpus Christi) and offers resources on pet-friendly housing for evacuees.

Austin Pets Alive! says it has transported more than 235 animals to its shelter. The organization seeks donations, as well as people who can adopt animals. It says it has received so many donated supplies that it's running out of storage space, so financial donations are what it needs most.

Pet friendly shelters

    List of Texas Animal Holding Facilities and Shelters list (from Texas Animal Health Commission)

  • Dial 211 if you are seeking a large or small animal shelter or holding facility.
  • Via Houston SPCA: If you have an animal emergency, inquiry or report related to #Harvey, please call our Animal Emergency Response Hotline at 713-861-3010. For all other inquiries that are not related to hurricane assistance, please call 713-869-7722 or visit http://www.houstonspca.org/

San Antonio (Host city to storm evacuees)

    All evacuees are advised to check in at 200 Gembler Road, just northeast of AT&T Center. Evacuees with pets can also go to the Gembler check-in point, but pets can’t stay in the same facilities as people. All pets, with the exception of service animals, will be kept in separate facilities. However, the city will provide shuttle service so people can visit their animals.

Austin (Host city to storm evacuees)

    Two shelters are now open, according to Statesman.com:

        Delco Center, 4601 Pecan Brook Drive

        LBJ High School, which shares a campus with the Liberal Arts and Science Academy at 7309 Lazy Creek Drive.

Travis County

    Gulf Coast evacuees can bring cats and dogs to shelter locations, which will have an area to keep them.

Livestock resources

    Travis County and the Texas Animal Health Commission are coordinating efforts to house horses and other livestock at the Travis County Fairgrounds, both for out-of-area evacuees and local residents who live in flood-prone areas.

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