While news of Hurricane Irma pushed stories about Hurricane Harvey aside, thousands of people in the greater Houston area are trying to put their lives and businesses back on track. To lend a helping hand, Visit Houston, the city's convention and visitors bureau, the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Restaurant Association have created the Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund to assist workers in the hospitality and tourism industries who were impacted by Harvey. Those who perform services of any nature in the industry, working in hotels, restaurants, theaters, arenas, stadiums, attractions or any organization that directly sells or promotes Houston as a destination, are eligible to receive funds.
"Houston has hospitality in its DNA, and our industry employees are what make Houston the welcoming city that visitors and locals alike have grown to love," said Mike Waterman, president of Visit Houston. "As the leaders of the hospitality industry, we are compelled to do what's in our hearts and collectively help those, particularly the hourly workers in our industry, who have been hurt by Hurricane Harvey. We want to do what we can to make life a little easier for the people who have spent their careers making life better for our guests visiting Houston."
Jonathan Horowitz, president of GHRA, added: "The GHRA is pleased to partner with Visit Houston and the HLAGH to raise funds that will be distributed directly to hospitality industry workers in the Houston area. The flooding has impacted so many of our businesses and employees, so it is imperative that we do everything possible to help them get through this difficult time. The response to the devastation from the hospitality industry has been nothing short of amazing. We are very proud to be a part of this fantastic community, and we look forward to supporting those who work so hard each day to exemplify the meaning of the word 'hospitality.'"
The relief fund will provide supplemental support to employees for any financial losses they have incurred as a result of Harvey.
"Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston is honored to partner with both Visit Houston and the GHRA to assist the thousands of employees who strive daily to lift up our city, and make Houston a welcoming and hospitable destination," said Stephanie Haynes, president of the organization. "While the majority of hotels are fully operational, we know there are industry employees who have been impacted, both personally and professionally, and we are proud to offer them support through these difficult times."
To make an individual or organizational contribution, go to visithouston.com/relieffund. In the coming days there will be an option from this site to donate by credit card, as well as a link for affected hospitality employees to apply for assistance. Those interested in contributing to relief fund by check or money order can mail to:
The Greater Houston Community Foundation
c/o Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund
5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000
Houston, TX 77056