I’ve spent more than twenty years helping people buy and sell houses.  More importantly – so much more importantly – I hope I’ve helped them find homes.  Maybe not their dream homes, maybe not their forever homes, but homes where they can plant roots, where they can raise families and make memories and create something bigger than themselves.  I know that a home isn’t made of brick and mortar.  It’s made out of shared experiences and time and love.  And that’s why it’s been particularly devastating to watch so many Texans lose their homes this week to Hurricane Harvey.  By anyone’s estimate, this natural disaster will be one of the worst to ever hit our country.  It’s unfathomable and it’s going to take years for Houston and surrounding areas to rebuild. It’s going to take time and patience and love and money for all those people who lost their homes (and their sense of security and belonginess) to rebuild. We have to help!

From the moment Harvey made landfall, the Red Cross has been on the ground helping with search and rescue, relocation, and providing basic services and supplies to displaced Houstons.  I’ve seen some of my friends on social media suggest that the Red Cross doesn’t deserve our money because a chunk of donations goes to operating costs.  I understand that thinking… we want every penny to go right into the hands of people who need help, but the bottom line is that we need a highly organized entity guiding those donation dollars and I think the Red Cross has a pretty stellar track record on providing help where it is most needed.  If you agree and would like to donate to the Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey Relief fund, you can do so here.    If the Red Cross is not your speed, here are some other ways you can help:

  • 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 Houstonhas 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.

 

Oh, and one more thing that’s breaking my heart?  All the displaced, missing and lost pets! I can’t imagine losing my home and my beloved pets at the same time.  It would truly be more than I could bear.  Here are two places you can donate to help our furry friends who are suffering the loss of their homes and families due to Hurricane Harvey:

 

  • Pawsitivity is a fundraising organization for training and placing service dogs, but they are currently suspending all their normal fundraising operations and are spending every single penny they receive to help our Houston pets.
  • Rescued Pets Movement Inc is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides a second chance for thousands of homeless dogs and cats through rehabilitation and transport to forever homes in communities throughout the US and Canada. They will be focusing on providing support and finding new homes for pets that have been lost or abandoned in the Houston area.

 

Lastly, I just want to say thank you.  Thank you for doing what you can, for praying and donating and praying some more.  The people of Houston have a very long road ahead of them, but we can all make that path a little bit easier!