Author Archives: Houmanitarian

Methodist Hospital Saves Man’s Hand With a Different Type of Tummy Tuck

Innovative surgery is nothing new in Houston, but sometimes old techniques are best. Doctors at Houston’s Methodist Hospital used an old technique to help save a patients hand after a more modern skin graft for burns was ruled-out. The solution was to surgically attach the hand under a fold of abdonimal skin in order to have new skin grown there naturally.
(Video: Associated Press)

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The Way Home: Outreach Surge Being Used to Reach Houston’s Chronic Homeless

The city of Houston is launching a new strategy to address chronic homeless through a unique outreach. The Way Home is an surge initiative which focuses on every known homeless concentration in the city, and on those individuals found pan-handling. With throngs of volunteers and professional staff hitting every council district the goal is to offer all homeless individuals with permanent supportive housing. This can all be done thanks to a collaborative effort involving many regional and county leaders, as well as major nonprofits working on homeless already.
(Video: KTRK 13 News)

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Leadership Revisited: Looking Back at Houston’s Response to Hurricane Katrina Evacuation

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Nonprofit & former city leaders Ana Babin and Micheal Moore recall coordinating disaster response.

Lloyd Jacobson, HOUmanitarian
This week is full of remembrances of the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina. The storm that devastated New Orleans and put Houston on the front lines of welcoming and caring for thousands of evacuees, many of whom still live in our city.

Last week Neighborhood Centers hosted their monthly In Good Company forum centered around the hurricane. Bringing together leading nonprofit and public sector figures who did the heavy lifting of creating something that had never been done before — take in tens of thousands from another American city, providing them care, shelter, and incorporating them into our own schools and institutions.

Participants included Anna Babin, President and CEO of United Way Houston. Noting she had just been announced as the new head or the organization shortly before the hurricane, she instead jumped into the job early. And while participating in a major conference call to coordinate response, the Mayor publicly asked her if the United Way would coordinate response for social services. “So here I’ve only been on the job for 6-hours, and I’ve already committed the organization to something massive,” Babin recalled.

Micheal Moore, the former chief of staff for Mayor Bill White, was next. He recalled the process of government officials from Louisiana, Washington, and Austin getting in touch with City Hall and asking Houston to welcome the evacuees.

And while relating the story of the Astrodome opening as a shelter, he illustrated the rare bureaucratic dance sometimes needed to make things happen in times of crisis. Just hours after opening to evacuees, the city fire marshal was closing the Dome as numbers exceeded what he initially said it could hold safely.  So with thousands still on their way in, with the Mayor on the phone, and the marshal in front of him, Moore recalls asking the marshal “Well who has override authority over you?”  The mayor,” replied the marshal. So instantly he connected the two together and they worked out a plan to let in more evacuees until additional shelters could be found.

Katrina evacuees sheltered under Houston’s Astrodome

Other speakers during the evening included: E.A.”Buddy” Grantham, who coordinated the Joint Hurricane Housing Task force; Ann Hilbig, from Neighborhood Centers; Bill Herrington, a businessman who now lives in Houston; and Jeff Stys who at the time was the project lead on Hurricane Katrina and Rita efforts for United Way.

The In Good Company forums are held monthly on a variety of topics, every third Thursday of the month.