In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the millions of Houston residents stepped up to do their part to help their neighbors and communities.
The entrepreneurship community also stepped up in a big way. Thousands of volunteers, in partnership with social service organizations, created applications to enable civilian rescue, help people find shelters, and match food providers with social services organizations and demolition volunteers with individual families whose homes incurred damage. These innovations saved lives, reduced suffering, and impacted over 100,000 people during and after the storm. These same applications were later used to help the survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Several pillars of the Houston entrepreneurship community have partnered together to form Entrepreneurs for Houston (E4H) to ensure that these tools remain available and are enhanced to meet the needs following future disasters. E4H is a non-profit founded with the mission of empowering communities to recover, rebuild, and reimagine. E4H has bold plans to reimagine the way that Houstonians interact with their government and social service organizations, allowing individuals and families to realize their full potentials and rebuilding Houston as a city known as a vanguard for civic innovation.
The first and most critical project’s focus will be on extending the toolset for disaster recovery. Complete recovery will take the city of Houston years. As the city moves through that process, E4H will fund the development of tools that will continue to accelerate recovery, catalyze on-the-ground efforts by social services organizations, and rebuild lives. These tools will be piloted and refined in Houston and then packaged for use in other communities.
Sketch City, a Houston-based nonprofit community of technology advocates and hackers, built rapid response applications to empower Houstonians with information and provide immediate emergency relief. E4H will help package these tools for use in other communities.