The State of Qatar is giving Houston $2.5 million to help reduce homelessness. The gift comes from the $30 million Qatar Harvey Fund, which the Gulf monarchy set up last year.
“Nearly 20 percent of unsheltered homeless individuals and half of those who are homeless for the first time are homeless because of Hurricane Harvey,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner, announcing the donation at City Hall.
Turner said the donation will underwrite relief efforts in the five pilot neighborhoods of Houston’s Complete Communities initiative: Acres Homes, Gulfton, Near Northside, Second Ward, and Third Ward.
The mayor shared the podium with Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S., Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani. “We appreciate the relation with the state of Texas and the people of Houston,” said Ambassador Al-Thani, “and we’re grateful for all the support that they give also to our citizens who come here to study and come here to get medical treatment.”
This marks Qatar’s second donation to the region this week, following another $2.5 million gift to help reopen the historic Riverside General Hospital. The effort comes as part of a trend of supporting long-term disaster recovery projects. Qatar set up a similar fund in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.