Press Conference: "Qatar Donates $2.5 Million to Aid Homelessness"

$2.5 million donation agreement makes Qatar the founding donor to mayor's new fund to aid the homeless

HOUSTON - Mayor Sylvester Turner and Qatar's ambassador to the U.S., Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, signed an agreement at City Hall today making Qatar the founding donor to the new Mayor's Fund To Reduce Homelessness.

The generous gift of $2.5 million comes from the Qatar Harvey Fund, which was established to aid Texas' long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

The city of Houston, partnering with more than 100 local agencies through The Way Home initiative, slashed homelessness by more than half in the metropolitan area since 2011. But flooding from Harvey temporarily halted the historic progress by displacing individuals who had never been homeless before.

"This precious gift from Qatar strengthens the city's recovery by enabling us to provide services to a newly disadvantaged group of Houstonians," Mayor Turner said. "Government and non-profit funds for homelessness interventions are usually hard to come by, which makes the donation even more meaningful as Qatar strengthens bonds with the people of Texas."

"The Qatar Harvey Fund is proud to be the founding funder of this innovative instrument to ensure Houston's rebuilding efforts include all its citizens." Ambassador Al-Thani said. "The Qatar Harvey Fund is committed to supporting partners and projects working towards long-term recovery after Hurricane Harvey, especially in the most vulnerable communities. Mayor Turner's new initiative to reduce homelessness addresses the critical need for homeless housing and supportive services, which increased in the year following Harvey."

The Qatar Harvey Fund's total commitment to the Texas recovery is $30 million.

Mayor Turner said the city will use the money to provide transitional housing for chronically homeless individuals dealing with mental illness and substance abuse.

The Mayor's Fund To Reduce Homelessness will also underwrite innovative ways of delivering wrap-around services for this vulnerable population through a Homeless Navigation Center.

Homeless populations in the five pilot neighborhoods of the mayor's Complete Communities initiative will be a focus of the relief programs. The initiative uses government, non-profit and private sector resources to provide equitable, revitalizing services and amenities to neighborhoods that have been under-served.
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