The Qatar Harvey Fund established a partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) in 2018 to support American veterans who continue to be impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Over the course of two years, BWF will utilize a $6 million grant from the Qatar Harvey Fund to identify and support organizations providing services to the more than 400,000 post-9/11 veterans and their families in the southeast Texas areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. This partnership will support rebuilding and recovery initiatives as well as work in adjacent service areas that contribute to improved outcomes for this community. Grants will be announced biannually beginning in May 2019 and the partnership is scheduled to conclude in December 2020.
Spring 2019 Grant Recipients
- Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA), which provides legal support to veterans and have supported veterans in 25 of the 41 federally declared Harvey disaster counties in Texas. This grant will expand LSLA’s outreach to veterans in underserved communities, particularly along the rural gulf coast, identify veteran clients who require legal support, and serve 250 clients with a total of 400 legal issues.
- The St. Bernard Project (SBP), which is a nationally-recognized disaster resilience and recovery organization that has been working in storm-impacted communities since Hurricane Katrina. This grant will ensure 10 veterans living in rural communities affected by Harvey and requiring home repair/rebuild services have access to resources and support.
Fall 2019 Grant Recipients
Two separate grants have been made to South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience (STRONG STAR) research consortium focused on PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) evaluation and treatment at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. These grants are complementary efforts to address the under-availability of quality, evidence-based mental healthcare for veterans in the Texas Gulf Coast.
- Fund trainings for at least 90 clinicians in counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey and help those organizations create long-term plans for sustained use of evidence-based therapy. The STRONG STAR team will subsequently provide expert consultation to these mental health care providers as they treat at least three veterans each (from or currently residing in the counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey) between February 2020 – November 2020. This grant will serve 270 veterans during the grant period and will also create an enduring capability to treat many more.
- Provide immediate care for up to 40 veterans in the region impacted by Hurricane Harvey who are suffering most acutely from PTSD. Some veterans in the Texas gulf coast region struggle with severe PTSD, exacerbated by the stresses of Hurricane Harvey, and cannot wait for the local mental health care capability to improve. This grant will identify up to 40 veterans in need of immediate expert clinical care and transport them to San Antonio for the best-in-class STRONG STAR 3-week program designed to address the most severely traumatized PTSD patients who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Because participating in training can be cost-prohibitive for clinicians, QHF/BWF stipends will ensure that the 90 participating clinicians can afford to receive that training and that they use their expertise to treat veterans in the counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Stipends will support each of the 90 clinicians treating 3 veterans and will enable them to participate in the annual Combat PTSD conference in San Antonio, to supplement their training and develop a network of mental health care providers
The remaining five grants provide important supplementary capabilities and outcomes to support Harvey-impacted veterans in the Gulf Coast region:
- Easter Seals of Greater Houston, Inc. – provide mental health and financial counseling for 100 veterans or family member. Easter Seals is a national non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, other special needs, and disabled veterans. Easter Seals of Greater Houston was one of the biggest providers helping families recover from the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and has since been working to address unmet mental health and financial literacy needs in the veteran community. Easter Seals is addressing the pressing need for mental health services and financial literacy by providing individual and group mental health counseling, peer to peer support, and financial coaching. This funding will enable mental health counseling to decrease veterans’ depression and anxiety and improve participants’ quality of life. This grant will also fund financial counseling to help veterans reduce their debt, increase their assets, and create and use a household budget. Easter Seals of Greater Houston has outreach offices in four counties on the Texas Gulf Coast and will serve 100 post-9/11 families impacted by Hurricane Harvey with this grant.
- Vets4Warriors – provide support for 250 veterans, family members, and caregivers located in the Texas Gulf Coast. Housed at the Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care National Call Center in New Jersey, Vets4Warriors is a national 24/7-peer support network that provides live one-on-one assistance to veteran and military communities. Every call, text, and email from a veteran is answered by Vets4Warriors peers who are all veterans, military family members and caregivers. With this grant, Vets4Warriors will target their outreach to the Texas Gulf Coast region to reach veterans affected by Hurricane Harvey who need upstream support and peer connection so that the challenges they are facing are mitigated before they reach the point of crisis. Vets4Warriors is especially focused on the more rural areas, where support is less available. Vets4Warriors will locate and serve 250 veterans, family members, and caregivers located in the Texas Gulf Coast during this grant period.
- Operation Family Caregiver-Gulf Coast Region, Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) – provide training and support to at least 100 families throughout the Texas Gulf Coast. RCI operates Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), a personalized program where highly trained OFC experts train and “coach” each family with the skills to navigate their challenges, resulting in stronger and healthier families. The spouses and family members who provide care at home for wounded veterans have an increased likelihood of depression and other negative health outcomes; low productivity and problems at work; relationship distress; and increased financial difficulty. The OFC coaches help families of veterans to manage their caregiving difficulties, via video or in-person meetings for a 16- to 24-week period. This grant will enable RCI to expand the Operation Family Caregiver program to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Hurricane Harvey and resulting tropical storms affected more than 510,000 veterans, and the devastation caused in this region by the hurricane exacerbated the daily difficulties caregivers face. This grant will provide vital caregiving coaching through the Operation Family Caregiver Program to at least 100 families. Because of the prevalence of Spanish-speaking caregivers in the Texas Gulf Coast, this grant will also translate the OFC curriculum into Spanish.
- The Mission Continues – operate a week of veterans’ service projects in communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, involving 500 Houston and Gulf Coast veterans. TMC conducts annual large-scale veteran empowerment and community improvement operations, empowering veterans and addressing their need to serve while supporting communities in need. In June 2020, TMC will bring convene 500 veterans from the Houston and Gulf Coast region, as well as veteran leaders from across the country, for a week of service projects in communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. They will partner with local community organizations and the result will be significant and sustainable positive change in neighborhoods still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
- Combined Arms – identify, train, and equip 100 leaders across the Gulf Coast region to identify and connect with local Harvey-impacted veterans. Combined Arms unites the community of service providers to improve and accelerate services to Houston veterans. To date, however, veterans in the Houston metropolitan area have had the easiest access to the 395 programs provided by 56 member organizations within the Combined Arms collaborative. This grant will take that access directly to Harvey-impacted veterans in the rural Texas Gulf Coast region where Combined Arms will identify, train, and equip 100 leaders across the region to identify and connect with local Harvey-impacted veterans, identify their enduring needs, and connect them with the resources to address those needs. Each leader will connect to, and resolve the challenges of at least five veterans, resulting in a minimum of 500 veterans, and potentially many more, served by this significant outreach effort.
Grants will be announced biannually until the partnership’s scheduled conclusion in December 2020.
Status: As of October 2019, 51% of funds have been disbursed as planned with 100% scheduled by December 31, 2019.
“The Qatar Harvey Fund represents an investment in the Bob Woodruff Foundation to support veterans and military families to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.”General Martin Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Bob Woodruff Foundation Board Member
“This new partnership allows us to support veterans and their families impacted by Hurricane Harvey via those best-in-class service providers who bring measurable outcomes and local activation.”Anne Marie Dougherty, Executive Director, Bob Woodruff Foundation