what a relief

More than 51,000 Harris County families receive crucial COVID aid thanks to local charity

Houston families received massive aid thanks to Catholic Charities. Family Houston/Facebook

The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on families in need. But in a much-needed bright spot, a local organization has initiated help to those hardest hit by the COVID downturn.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced that more than 51,000 families have received aid from the $61.4 million from the Harris County COVID-19 Emergency Direct Assistance Program.

Need-based funds came courtesy of the county's CARES funding and provided a one-time, $1,200 payment to 51,167 eligible applicants, per a press release.
Money was distributed nearly equally across Harris County's four precincts (except for the Precinct 2 surplus), including Houston residents inside Harris County.

To ensure fairness, families were selected from the application pool using a random statistical model that ensured no discrimination, according to Catholic Charities. Funds could be used for any type of emergency expense (housing, food, utilities, healthcare, childcare, transportation, etc.), and families could apply without cooperation from a landlord.

Breaking down the numbers provided in a press release, Harris County initially designated $40 million for the fund; another $20 million was allocated in November. An additional $1.4 million was allocated to the Direct Assistance fund and was earmarked directly for Precinct 2 recipients due to a shortfall of participants in the County's Small Business Grant Program, bringing the program's total to $61.4 million.

Even non-citizen residents who were unable to obtain CARES money due to federal grant requirements will be helped thanks to private funds; those monies are currently being distributed, according to the charity.

Meanwhile, the program provided jobs to nearly 250 laid-off residents, injecting $2.2. million into the local economy.

"Catholic Charities is honored and grateful that Harris County selected our team to serve the community in this way," said Catholic Charities' president and CEO Cynthia N. Colbert, in a statement. "This task was in line with our faith-based mission, which compels us to ensure that every client is treated with respect and dignity."

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Goop Founder Gwyneth Paltrow and venture capitalists Dana Settle and Mitchell Green will headline Venture Houston next month. Images via venturehouston.com

A Houston-based fund of funds is bringing back its venture-focused event — and this year, you might recognize the keynote speaker.

Venture Houston hosted by the HX Venture Fund will take place on Monday, September 12, at The Ion. The day will kick off with a conversation with Goop founder and Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow in conversation with Dana Settle, co-founder and managing partner of New York-based Greycroft. Goop is among Greycroft's portfolio companies, and HXVF, which deploys capital in to out-of-town VCs they have an interest and intention in investing into Houston startups, invested in Greycroft in 2020.

Some of the event's other speakers — from outside Texas as well as home grown —include LeadEdge Capital's Mitchell Green, Cart.com's Omair Tariq, Solugen's Gaurab Chakrabati, and many more. The full event agenda and list of speakers are both available online.

The program of the event is centered around key topics directly affecting Houston's innovation ecosystem, such as energy transition, sustainability, startup scaling, the future of health care, entrepreneurship, talent acquisition, and more.

“Venture Houston will bring together some of the most proven venture capitalists from the nation to the Houston stage, alongside Houston’s corporate leaders and most innovative entrepreneurs," says Sandy Guitar, managing director of the HX Venture Fund. "We are delighted to bring conversations around lessons learned and best practices to The Ion so that we can continue to nurture the incredible growth we are experiencing in the innovation ecosystem in Houston.”

Venture Houston is supported and sponsored by organizations including Insperity, Rice University, Greater Houston Partnership, Silicon Valley Bank, and Halliburton Labs.

"Houston's innovation ecosystem is experiencing a compelling transformation," says Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the GHP. "Venture Houston 2022 is the premier event for corporate leaders, venture capital investors, and entrepreneurs to plug into what is happening in the city. We are proud to sponsor and share the stage with leaders helping to illuminate the power of venture capital for Houston’s innovation ecosystem."

Registration is open online for the September 12 event.

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