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April 20, 2016

Next Steps After the Flood

Our hearts go out to the Houstonians who have lost loved ones and to those who are working to put their lives back together.  This storm has affected many in our community and now is the time to help them.

Mayor Sylvester Turner is scheduling three informational meetings in the neighborhoods hardest hit by Monday's floods. 

  • 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - Harvest Time Church, 17770 Imperial Valley Dr., Houston, TX 77060
  • 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - Mark Twain Elementary, 7500 Braes Blvd, Houston, TX  77025
  • Monday, April 25, 2016 - Acres Homes at a time and location to be announced shortly

Mayor Turner, mayor's office staff and City Department heads will be in attendance to provide information and instruction on how to go about documenting flood damage and answers questions about the next steps.  HTV, the City's municipal channel will be broadcasting the meetings live at for those who cannot make the meetings.

Next Steps
Affected residents are urged to report flood damage to their homes via Houston 311.  This will help the City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods and the Office of Emergency Management prepare a formal assessment of the total number of affected structures, which is required for the City and State to qualify for federal recovery assistance.

Residents may call Houston 311, download the Houston 311 app on their mobile phones or visit to submit a flooding report.

  • Call your insurance agent to file a claim.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
  • If your car was towed you can find where it was taken check out or call 713-308-8580.

Cleaning and Sanitizing to Prevent Mold Damage and Flood Related Illness

  • Turn off main power if wiring is wet or moldy. Have an electrician check the house's electrical system before turning power on again.
  • Open the house to fresh air when the humidity is lower outside than inside.
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture unless mold has already started to grow (fans may spread existing mold).
  • Use the HVAC system only if the ducts have not been inundated (any forced air central heating ducts that have come in contact with water or mold should be professionally checked).
  • Remove all wet items such as furniture, rugs, bedding, toys, carpeting, ceiling tiles, drywall and wood by-products.  If wallboard is soaked, remove to a foot (12") above the water mark and discard. Drain walls by removing baseboard and drilling holes near floor. Dry panel-type wall by pulling the bottom edge out from studs. Check interior of the wall for hidden mold.
  • Remove all wet insulation. Discard all but rigid insulation, which can be reinstalled after disinfecting and drying.
  • Discard soaked or moldy carpeting. Clean all other items first with soap and warm clean water to remove dirt and debris. Next, sanitize surfaces with one cup household liquid bleach per every 5 gallons of water. Be sure to wear boots and gloves when cleaning.
  • Discard all possibly contaminated food products - anything not in a water tight container.

Debris collection contractors are on notice and will begin mobilizing in the next few days.

Inspectors from the City's Department of Public Works and Engineering (PWE) and the Department of Neighborhoods began assessing damage to multi-family and single-family properties this morning.  Once the assessment is finished, the City will work with landlords to insure proper and timely repairs of eligible units as well as assist residents who require relocation or other services. Properties located in the flood plain may be required to meet higher standards than when they were built, depending on the level of damage.

The Houston Permitting Center is open for business to help answer questions.  The Center is located at 1002 Washington Avenue, just outside of downtown.  Several satellite offices are to be opened in the areas most affected by the storm. Visit for up to date information on permitting storm damage repairs.

Want to Volunteer?
The Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) is working with the Houston VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to help faith-based and non-profit organizations more effectively deploy their volunteers to assist flood victims. Through a web-based program called Crisis CleanUp, HCDD is sharing areas of damage and showing homes in need of assistance. Volunteer agencies can log into the database and "claim" specific addresses where assistance is needed. Other agencies logging into the program can quickly see where groups are working and where help is needed. Volunteer organizations interested in participating may call 832-394-6282 for information. This program is designed for organizations only and cannot accept individuals seeking to volunteer. Individuals may find volunteer opportunities through

Want to Donate?
After receiving calls from corporations and others who want to help financially, Mayor Sylvester Turner is establishing The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund, to accept flood relief donations.  The fund will focus on aiding storm victims and relief organizations in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties. The Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501 (c)(3)nonprofit public charity, will administer the fund.  Online credit card donations will be assessed a small fee, typically 3%, by the credit card companies. Donors have the option of increasing their credit card donations to cover this fee.

To donate, go to and follow the instructions.