Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday, August 25 with its bands of thunderstorms pounding the southeastern portion of Texas - hitting Houston and the surrounding coastline. Only in recent hours has the rain stopped long enough for residents and business owners to assess damage and make a plan.
Many restaurants are closed and their employees unable to work. We will update this page as we receive more valuable information from our knowledgable insurance partners and health department colleagues. In the meantime, please use the following links to find out how you can help.
A big thank you to the National Restaurant Association, numerous state and regional associations, private companies, and citizens who have reached out to offer assistance.
A joint project has been launched by the TRA and NRA to track and highlight giving from the foodservice industry at large. To learn more about the program and have your fundraising event listed, please visit:
The Texas Restaurant Association has vetted and recommends giving to the following charities:
- CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees)
CORE grants support to the children of food and beverage employees navigating life-altering circumstances. Since 2004, CORE has raised more than $2.5 million and granted support to more than 225 families from across the industry and the country.
If you are interested in applying for support or referring a family for support, please visit their grant application. For more examples of CORE’s impact in the food and beverage service industry, read stories about families they’ve supported.
- Houston Food Bank
The Houston Food Bank will provide food and supplies in the short term and for many months to come to residents in southeast Texas who will struggle to rebuild their lives. The Food Bank will work closely with our network of partner agencies to ensure food is getting to those who need it most. We also find ways to connect offers of help with those who are providing help.
- Mayor Turner and Judge Emmett's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help, Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett have established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods. The fund will be housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.
Restaurant Employee Resources
NEW The Greater Houston Restaurant Association in conjunction with Houston First and the Hotel Lodging Association of Greater Houston joined to establish the Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund for any hospitality employee (restaurant, hotel, tourism) meeting certain minimum criteria. Grants will be awarded with consideration to ‘first in – first out’. The fund is being managed by the Greater Houston Community Foundation - please reference 'Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund' when applying or donating.
Texas Workforce Commission - If you are out of work or losing wages due to Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Workforce Commission is accepting applications for Disaster Relief Assistance through September 27 in 18 Texas counties.
FEMA's Hurricane Harvey Resource Page - Information on how to apply for assistance, emotional distress hotline, and emergency phone numbers.
Employees Resource Guide - Cherry Pie Hospitality in Houston has created a packet of information for employees with a list of government resources. It is embedded at the end of this article by CultureMap Houston.
Resources for Texas renters - From the Texas Apartment Association
High Water Bills - There are approximately 5,000 customer accounts that have water bills twice or more as much as previous billing cycles. Call 713-371-1400.
Rental Assistance - If you need rental assistance because you cannot return to your Harvey-damaged home, contact a FEMA disaster center via this link.
Below are some first steps and links to information how to get your business back up and running after a disaster.
Repair Permits - Information on getting repair permits from the Houston Permitting Center
Hurricane Harvey Relief Grants - How to apply for Texas Mutual's Hurricane Relief Grants - plus other business recovery resources
Comptroller Extension Information - The Comptroller's office has compiled information for taxpayers affected by the storm, including information on filing for tax extensions.
First steps - courtesy of Wortham Insurance:
- Report any and all potential claims
- Take photos of ANY and ALL property damage – property damage is what triggers any and all coverage
- Keep invoices of all related expenses
- Try to mitigate further loss as well as you can – engage all needed contractors as quickly as possible to open
- BE PATIENT - This is going to be a slow process. Insurance companies, remediation and all other contractors are going to be very backed up and things will move very slowly as the water flows out of Houston
Disaster Recovery Centers - Three State of Texas/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers opened on Sept. 11, 2017, in the cities of Katy, Baytown and Houston.
Disaster Plan for Restaurant Communities - Cowritten by multiple industry experts, this document is a framework for setting up a system that members of the hospitality industry in any city can activate themselves during pre- and post-disaster situations.
TABC announces temporary relief for businesses affected by Harvey - Latest Harvey updates from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Post-Disaster Business Questions - From the Texas Comptroller, a list of tax-related questions. For example, "Are purchases made with a FEMA debit card or voucher exempt from Texas sales and use tax?"
Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments - Provided by the Conference for Food Protection, this document has information on how to assess for damage after a flood, potential impact on operations, business continuity, and much more.
FEMA's Hurricane Harvey Resource Page - Information on how to apply for assistance, undocumented worker shelter information, and the National Flood Insurance Program.
Disaster Loans - Provided by the Small Business Administration to businesses of all sizes, these loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets.
Reopening After Disaster - The FDA's list of concerns when reopening a place of business after a disaster, including equipment, pest control, and employees.
TABC Statement on Issues Related to Hurricane Harvey - TABC is recommending that all types of permittees and licensees document whatever they are doing relating to alcohol so that there can be a paper trail down the line relating to inventory, disposals, sales, moving liquor to other premises, etc...
Other resources provided by TRA's preferred partner, Wortham Insurance:
Post Hurricane Market Conditions - Considerations for business owners and investors on market conditions during recovery times following a disaster.
Steps for Claims - How to compile a property/casualty insurance claim.
Once you are able to get back into your place of business, one of the first things to do will be to inspect your food inventory, including dry storage, walk-in and reach-in refrigerators and freezers.
Below are some excellent guidelines on post-disaster food safety and surveillance from the City of Houston Health Department:
- Post Disaster Food Protection Guidelines
- Post Disaster Food Surveillance Guidelines
- Emergency Shelter Sanitation Guidelines
- Emergency Guidelines for Retail Food Establishments
Also see tips from the Centers for Disease Control on food safety after a flood.
Please share with us your stories of giving and heroism during this devastating time.
Additionally, TRA members are encouraged to reach out to each other using the following TRA Connect forums: