Immediately following Hurricane Harvey, a group of friends and strangers sprang into action. That group of friends became what is now known as West Street Recovery. Before the group agreed on a name, they agreed upon the principles of empowerment of the disenfranchised of Black and Brown communities and unparalleled transparency.
Over the course of the final quarter of 2017, West Street Recovery has raised more than $85,000 and spent $45,000 to date.
Donations were raised from numerous individuals and large organizations such as The Sierra Club, The Zen Center, and Live Oaks Quakers Meeting.
A large portion of our expenses incurred was due to the three case managers we decided to bring on staff. These case managers have collectively managed more than 150 cases/households by connecting them with resources that were available to them. All case managers hired were individuals that were observed kicking butt through the initial stages of Harvey Relief. Once the City of Houston regained a small amount of normalcy, these individuals were forced to choose between continuing their volunteer work, going back to their day job, or looking for a day job. In that case, WSR made the decision to empower these individuals to continue doing this work on behalf of disenfranchised communities.
WSR is now transitioned into the rebuilding stage. As of December 31, 2017, WSR has repaired four homes for families. During the immediate weeks following the storm, more than 50,000 meals were distributed along $120,000 supplies and materials to communities in need. Amongst the supplies distributed WSR purchased $12,098.12 of items requested by individuals in need. On a case by case basis, WSR has donated Direct Financial Assistance to families within our 150 caseload.
In addition to our principles of empowerment, we established an internal purchasing procedure in which we attempt to purchase as many supplies and services from local minority-owned businesses. We believe relief funds should be intentionally used to provide immediate solutions to families in need and be directed to further support local business in an effort to circulate funds in local communities and create jobs.