Providing an Emergency Response Grant to Circle of Health International following Hurricane Harvey

Every Mother Counts is supporting our friends at Circle of Health International (COHI) through our Maternal & Child Health Emergency Fund. COHI, based in Texas, is working with their partners throughout the region to identify pregnant women, families with newborns and medically fragile children to help connect them to critical healthcare and safety.

As always, COHI’s efforts are focused on prioritizing the needs of those most vulnerable, including homeless women and children, families living in domestic violence shelters, and those whose immigration status is not in alignment with the government agencies providing support services.

Funds will be used to provide support for:

• Emergency housing and transportation for vulnerable women and children who’ve lost their homes and vehicles in the storm, who now need funds for labor and delivery support and medical care for medically fragile kids

• Medical supplies for refugee and migrant communities, domestic violence shelters, and LGTBQ homes and centers as they are often not prioritized in traditional aid distribution

• Medical care and counseling for these vulnerable populations impacted by the storm who don’t have funds to pay co-pays and other out of pocket related medical costs

When weather events like Harvey destroy homes, close hospitals, and flood roads, communities that are situated in the low-lying parts of town or near potential environmental hazards are most affected — and those who are poor, people of color, and refugees disproportionately live in those places. And although state and local officials suggested evacuation for certain areas, residents that are poor and/or disabled struggle without the resources or capability to follow that advice. Additionally, because the Border Patrol did not suspend checkpoint operations along the highways, undocumented immigrants have been left in the difficult position of risking arrest and detention just by fleeing to safety from the storm. (The Houston area has an estimated 575,000 residents of undocumented status, the third largest such community in the country.)

Thankfully, however, many shelters and emergency relief locations are operated by local officials and organizations who refuse to put people at risk, regardless of immigration status. In fact, disaster philanthropy experts advise that giving to those local groups – those that already have deep networks throughout the affected communities – is the best way to help in times of crisis.

With years of experience addressing the needs of women and families in vulnerable situations, working in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina’s recovery, and their ongoing reproductive and refugee focused advocacy work in Texas, COHI’s team is ready to respond.

Please join us by contributing directly to COHI and their efforts here.

Topics: Refugees