The word “community” has taken on a whole new meaning this week...and how could it not. After 15 trillion tons of rain, 30% of Harris County under water, and over 30,000 Houstonians evacuated to shelters, Houstonians and our neighbors have rallied to help one another. Despite region-wide suffering and loss due to the floods, the true stories of Hurricane Harvey and Houston resilience are emerging. Neighbors took their boats and trucks into the middle of the storm to assist with rescue missions. Volunteers collected donations and led caravans of goods to shelters. Hundreds of people lined up to help evacuees at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG stadium, wrapping around entire city blocks. Rather than defeat us, this historic storm reminded us what community means to Houston. Here, community isn’t just something that we are a part of — community is who we are and what we do. People risked their lives to save others and went without so that others wouldn't have to.
At Station, we’ve witnessed and harnessed the power of community first-hand. Rather than keep these stories to ourselves, we want to share them with the greater Houston and technology communities. Subscribe to our blog at the bottom of this post if you’d like to follow the relief, recovery, and rebuilding of this great city we call our home. This is our community. #HoustonStrong.
Click through or scroll down to read about the amazing efforts that are coming out the Houston technology community.
Search & Rescue with Michael Sklar
Station Cleanup Squad
Grace Rodriguez: Switchboard Operator & Master Connector
Houston Shelter Map
Connecting the Stranded to Shelters
One Click Relief
STATION MEMBER UPDATE
Before returning to the office on Wednesday, the Station team had already started connecting and reaching out to our member and mentor networks. By the time we all got back together at Station, we had a pretty good idea on the status of the majority of our 400+ member community. We mobilized quick - organizing rescue efforts, gathering volunteers for cleanup, opening our doors to displaced entrepreneurs. Bobby, our Director of Membership, stopped for a moment in between calls to observe and appreciate the value of the type of work we’re doing, especially considering we’re a for-profit company.
In total, we’ve heard from nearly 98% of Station members & mentors. Thankfully, the vast majority of you all are safe, dry and haven’t suffered damages. For those whose circumstances aren’t as fortunate, we’ve been in touch and are coordinating support in anyway we can.
The rebuilding and cleanup efforts have just begun but Houstonians, and the Station Community have already shown that we’re ready to work together to help those that need it most.
Search and Rescue with Michael Sklar: Station’s newest team member and Chief Strategy Officer, Michael Sklar, didn’t wait for the waters to recede to jump into action. Armed with a boat and a few neighbors, Michael spent Saturday through Monday working with first responders to rescue stranded Houstonians by boat. A few photos from his efforts are below - if you want an in-depth look at what Harvey volunteer rescuers experienced, check out Michael’s documentation and commentary on his Facebook page.
Station Cleanup Squad: Throughout the week, a group of 45+ members of the Station community provided manpower for cleanup efforts at the homes of fellow members that were affected by the storm. Several families experienced severe water damage and had to move quickly before mold and mildew spread throughout the walls and floors. Members have also helped provide temporary housing, groceries, access to computers, and meals.
Grace Rodriguez, Switchboard Operator and Master Connector: Grace does an awesome job at connecting people and resources on a regular day, but when Hurricane Harvey hit, her natural superpower was supercharged. Over the past week, she’s worked and connected with Sketch City Houston, The City of Houston, 18F, the Harris County Sheriff's Office, BakerRipley, UnitedWay Houston, Lyft...the list goes on. Sensing confusion from all of the resources, emergency numbers and shelter information being shared on social media, she scrapped, compiled and organized to create flood.care. Grace has been a true digital warrior this week.
Houston Shelter Map: A mismatch of needs vs. supplies quickly became a trend among the larger shelters and relief centers in the area. Members of local tech non-profit, Sketch City, saw this as an opportunity to use their tech genius for good. Over the last several days, they’ve been working on an interactive map to connect volunteers and supplies with the shelters and organizations that need them the most, and have worked around the clock to keep it updated at least every two hours. You can use the map to contribute to shelters in need by visiting johnnyqbui.github.io/Houston-Shelters/
Connecting the Stranded to Shelters: College sophomore Nile Dixon, a member of Sketch City, built and launched a text bot to connect people stranded by the storm to the nearest available shelter, directly impacting 3,270 people. His efforts were featured in his University’s publication - click through to read more about Nile and his story.
Relief Just a Click Away: Recent high school grad and startup founder, John Kennedy, led a team of 12 Sketch City hackers and developers to build One Click Relief. The site provides a simple way to purchase and ship supplies to shelters directly from Amazon - a perfect solution for people across Texas and the country who want to offer help.
Sketch City is coordinating several projects and is seeking talented techies, hackers, and designers to join the effort. If you’re interested in contributing, join their Slack channel at sketchcity.herokuapp.com
entrepreneurs for houston initiative
Leadership from the Mercury Fund, TMCx, Sketch City, The Circular Board and Station Houston released a joint statement to launch Entrepreneurs For Houston, a community-wide commitment to help Houston's entrepreneurs, as well as solve the dynamic challenges that arise from Hurricane Harvey. Read the full statement and stay up-to-date on upcoming initiatives at entrepreneursforhouston.org.