UAE Gives $6.5 Million to Aid Hurricane Harvey Recovery

The gift will support the creation of a short-term housing facility for the Homeless Navigation Center, construction of a new community center run by local nonprofit Avenue CDC, reopening of the Flores Neighborhood Library, and expansion of Houston Health Department services, including new mobile health clinics.

The United Arab Emirates is giving $6.5 million to the Greater Houston Community Foundation to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts through homelessness relief, community revitalization, library services, and public health expansion in the Houston area, the UAE Consul General in Houston, Saeed Al Mehairi, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Jan. 8. The gift is part of a $10 million relief pledge from the UAE to the state of Texas. The Greater Houston Community Foundation will oversee, manage, and distribute the grant funds to the specific projects; the foundation administered the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that was founded by Mayor Turner and then-Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

The gift will support the creation of a short-term housing facility for the Homeless Navigation Center, construction of a new community center run by local nonprofit Avenue CDC, reopening of the Flores Neighborhood Library, and expansion of Houston Health Department services, including new mobile health clinics.

"The UAE has long-standing ties to Houston and the state of Texas, and we are proud to help this great city. We hope these projects will lead to meaningful and measurable changes that improve people's lives," said Consul General Al Mehairi. "Houston has been a home away from home for me, and I was personally inspired by the determination shown by all Houstonians to help strengthen their communities and recover after Hurricane Harvey hit."

"We are extremely grateful to Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, Consul General Al Mehairi, and the people of the United Arab Emirates for this generous gift, the responsible way in which it will be managed, and the care taken to ensure that it will provide quality-of-life improvements to Houstonians at a grassroots level," Turner said. "As Houston builds forward from the hurricane, we cherish our helpful partners such as the UAE."

Avenue CDC aims to build affordable homes and empower the community through achieving a host of educational, infrastructure and public safety goals. Since Hurricane Harvey, Avenue CDC has temporarily hosted its Housing Recovery Resources Center in a vacant building. The organization has helped hundreds of families with needed home repairs and foreclosure prevention and with on-site assistance for families, including utility/rent/mortgage assistance, food, clothes, transportation, furniture, and other essential household items. Avenue CDC will receive approximately $2.6 million to construct a new, permanent location for the Avenue Center.

The Houston Health Department will receive approximately $1.1 million to expand the Pediatric Asthma in the Home Stretch Program (PATHS) to three more schools in the Houston Independent School District, test children for blood lead poisoning, and create the Children's Environmental Health Mobile Unit. Funds will support staffing, school stipends, testing supplies, lab services, and the creation and maintenance of the mobile unit.

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