Five months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm with 130 mile per hour winds, affected communities in Texas and Louisiana are struggling to recover. Thousands are without permanent housing. Many more are repairing their homes. Businesses are shuttered and, in some towns, debris still lines the streets.
Here are five ways you can help those still in need:
1. Donate to individual efforts through Go Fund Me.
Go Fund Me has compiled all Hurricane Harvey related projects in one place. You can choose to donate to individual families or larger organizations.
2. Donate to Save the Children.
A total of 59 child care facilities have shut down because of damage sustained during Hurricane Harvey. Another 48 have suspended operations and 20 have been forced to relocate. As the Texas Tribune recently reported, Save the Children is working with child care facilities to get them up and running and improve quality at a number of locations across Texas.
3. Visit the Texas Coast.
The Gulf Coast might not normally be on the top of your vacation lists, but business leaders in coastal communities say tourists are what will help revive their communities. Towns like Rockport are working to market their ocean views, fishing and bird-watching as a way to boost tourism, which accounts for 90 percent of its economy.
4. Donate to the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett set up the Harvey Relief Fund under the Greater Houston Community Foundation. The public charitable foundation distributes money to nonprofits working throughout the Houston region.
Many of the volunteers who traveled to Texas in the storm's immediate aftermath have now left, but a number of organizations are still connecting volunteers with location groups to aid recovery efforts. All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response has committed to staying in Texas for two years. If you can commit two weeks to volunteering, the organization will pay for your flight. Tasks include debris removal, mold remediation and home repair. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old without a guardian or 16 years old with a guardian. National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster also maintains a list of groups working in the affected areas of Texas and Louisiana.