Hurricane Harvey has severely affected thousands of people in the greater Houston area. This unprecedented storm has not only flooded homes, but also disrupted businesses. While area restaurants and hotels have been impacted in various degrees, so have their employees.

However, this natural disaster has brought out the best in our community. Countless examples of the heart of Houston emerged over the past weeks. The strength, resilience and genuine kindness displayed by friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and complete strangers truly encapsulate the spirit of this special city.

This same spirit of kindness and care fills the hospitality industry. That is why, Visit Houston, a division of Houston First, Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (HLAGH) and Greater Houston Restaurant Association (GHRA) have joined together to create an emergency employee relief fund. The Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund will be used to assist hospitality and tourism related employees impacted by Hurricane Harvey and who perform services of any nature within the industry including hotels, restaurants, theaters, arenas, stadiums, attractions, or any organization that directly sells or promotes Houston as a destination.

“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. 

“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,” said Jonathan Horowitz, president of GHRA. “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.’”

This relief fund is intended to provide supplemental support to employees for any financial losses they may 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 HLAGH. “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.”

It is this resilient spirit that defines Houston.  When we say, “Houston Strong,” this is what we mean.

To donate or apply
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.

In the meantime, those interested in contributing to relief fund by check or money order can mail to:
The Greater Houston Community Foundation
Co: Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund
5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000
Houston, TX 77056