Our America: Where to find help for Houston's diverse communities

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Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Here's a guide to help you do some exploring around town!
Here's a guide to help you do some exploring around town!

Even in a city like Houston, named in 2021 as the most diverse city in America, we know that inequality still exists.

As ABC13 Houston and the ABC Owned Television Stations tell stories about all our diverse communities, we're connecting viewers with resources addressing quality of life issues in southeast Texas, including housing, health, education, policing and the environment.

Here are local and national organizations and other entities that you can contact to fight inequality in your area:

Where to Get Help in Houston

Racial Equity Institute: An alliance of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders who have devoted ourselves to the work of creating racially equitable organizations and systems.

Career, Housing & Wealth

2-1-1 Texas: 2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Areas of assistance include rent and utility assistance, mental/physical health resources and more.

BakerRipley: BakerRipley connects low-income families and individuals to opportunity so they can achieve the life they've imagined. Offers access to rent and utility assistance, education, job and career development, immigration and citizenship services, senior services, free tax help, disaster recovery and more.

Dress for Success Houston: Since 1998, DFSH has been dedicated to its mission of empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and life.

Goodwill Industries of Houston: We educate, train, and hire individuals with barriers to employment to help them thrive. We connect people, families, and communities to improve lives and to meet the workforce needs of today and tomorrow.

Houston Food Bank: America's largest food bank in distribution leads hunger relief in 18 southeast Texas counties. The Houston Food Bank distributes food and other essentials to those in need through a network of 1,500 community partners.

Houston Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program: Administered by the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and BakerRipley, the fund provides $159 million in rent and utilities assistance to families who are struggling.

Kids Meals Inc: Our mission is to end childhood hunger by delivering free healthy meals to the doorsteps of Houston's hungriest preschool-aged children and through collaboration provide their families with resources to help end the cycle of poverty.

Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston and Galveston County: Interfaith Ministries' program provides home-delivered meals to approximately 4,900 homebound seniors and disabled adults in five counties. The program also delivers weekend meals and a week's worth of breakfast to about a quarter of our most frail and isolated clients.

RISE! - The Women's Resource of Greater Houston: RISE! is unique in that it is delivered to female students in Houston school settings during school hours. Participants explore financial topics such as understanding your personal relationship with money, practicing responsible budgeting and savings, and banking basics.

Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation: Offers home downpayment grants to first-time and repeat home buyers in Houston, Galveston and Beaumont, Texas. TSAHC programs target the housing needs of low-income families and other underserved populations in Texas.

Workforce Solutions: The Gulf Coast Workforce Board and its operating affiliate Workforce Solutions are the public workforce system in the 13-county Houston-Galveston region of Texas. The board helps employers meet their human resource needs and individuals build careers, so both can compete in the global economy.


If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

If you are a veteran or a member of a military family, call the National Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 1-800-273-8255, and then press "1." You can also start a confidential online chat session at veteranscrisisline.net/chat.

African American Health Coalition Houston: The Coalition promotes healthy lifestyles and healthy communities for people of African American descent, but welcomes members, partners and support from all races and ethnic backgrounds.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation : Provides free screenings for sexually-transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV in the Houston area and nationwide. AHF Wellness Centers provide information about STDs, safer sex, cryotherapy treatments for genital warts, and referrals to doctors who specialize in HIV for anyone who tests positive.

Hispanic Health Coalition: Promotes healthy lifestyles among Houston's Hispanic and Latino community, especially those with limited access to resources and information. We work continuously to eliminate health disparities and increase health literacy in these communities.

Hope Clinic: Provides health care services to all people, regardless of the patient's ability to pay. In particular, HOPE Clinic serves the uninsured, under-insured, those with limited English proficiency, and low-income patients. Provides services in 30 different languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Burmese, Arabic, and Spanish.

LGBT Switchboard Houston - 24 Hour Helpline: Provides resources to deal with depression, suicide and crisis intervention; domestic violence help and shelter; sexual assault and hate crimes support; additional support and treatment; HIV & STD information; LGBT-affiriming resources; and community events and visitor information.

Legacy Community Health: Provides adult primary care, pediatrics, dental care, vision services, behavioral health services, OB/GYN and maternity, vaccinations and immunizations, health promotion and community outreach, wellness and nutrition, and comprehensive HIV/AIDS care on a sliding scale.

Mental Health Programs for Veterans: Texas Health and Human Services provides up-to-date information about its partnership with Texas Veterans Commission, and peer-to-peer counseling available to service members, veterans and their families through local mental health and behavioral health authorities across the state.

Prevention Park Health Center: Planned Parenthood is one of the nation's leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care, and the nation's largest provider of sex education. With or without insurance, you can always come to us for your health care.

TexVet - Mental Health Resources: TexVet offers veterans and their families access to dozens of mental health resources, searchable by county and covering a wide range of concerns.

The Montrose Center: Provides around the clock, scattered site emergency shelter for LGBT survivors of domestic violence, as well as transitional housing. Advocacy and counseling services also are available.

The Rose: The Rose reduces deaths from breast cancer by providing access to screening, diagnostics and treatment services to any woman regardless of her ability to pay.

The Women's Fund: Serves at risk adolescent girls and underserved women living in Houston and Harris County, who have limited or no access to health education information and are at risk for a variety of health issues.


Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans: AAMA has empowered men, women and children to pursue their dreams and inspired leaders within the community, through its schools, counseling and prevention services, career guidance and extra-curricular offerings.

Chinese Community Center Houston: The Chinese Community Center is a multi-ethnic organization serving all Houstonians. Its mission is to bridge East and West by enriching families with educational, cultural, and social service programs. Serves diverse cultures, diverse generations, and diverse needs. Its staff speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Spanish.

Community Family Centers: Serves low-income families within Houston's impoverished Greater East End. CFC works towards its mission by providing a safe and nurturing environment for children to excel and adults to learn, strengthening community partnerships, and promoting cultural understanding and community empowerment.

Houston Area Alliance of Black School Educators Particularly sensitive to the needs and interests of the Black community. Using the HAABSE network, members can share and provide many valuable professional services and intervention strategies focused on improving the educational environment of Black youth and educators in our community.

Houston ISD - Mandarin Immersion Magnet School : The school's vision is to immerse students in a culture-rich environment that allows them to become balanced bi-cultural and bi-literate citizens for the global economy.

Houston Museum of African American Culture: Collects, conserves, explores, interprets, and exhibits the material and intellectual culture of Africans and African Americans in Houston, the state of Texas, the southwest and the African Diaspora for current and future generations.

Latinos for Education - Greater Houston: Develops, connects and places essential Latino leaders in the education sector.

Military Family Resources - Texas Education Agency: The Division of Regional Services assists military families who have moved to Texas from a compact state to enter school, be appropriately placed and graduate.

Out for Education: One of the most successful LGBTQ+ scholarship-granting foundations in the United States, dedicated to the purpose of providing scholarships to Houston-area LGBTQ+ youth.

Texas Veterans Hazelwood Act: This resource explains this State of Texas benefit, providing qualified veterans, spouses and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fee charges, at public Texas colleges and universities.

The Women's Institute of Houston: The Women's Institute of Houston (WIH) has served thousands of men and women searching for a community of learners in Houston. Offers a variety of programs, including weekly classes, Sunday lectures, lecture luncheons, and online learning experiences.

The Women's Resource of Greater Houston

In our programs, women acquire the essential financial knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make sound decisions and improve their lives - for themselves and for generations to come. For 2.8 million Houstonians who are experiencing financial distress, The Women's Resource trains and coaches women and girls, meeting them where they are. We are inspiring financial change, improving financial health, and overall individual and family wellbeing.

Vietnamese Culture & Science Association: VCSA promotes excellence in education, leadership and skills development through culture and science.

Environmental Justice

Bayou City Waterkeeper: Works to protect and restore the integrity of Houston's bayous, rivers, streams, and the bays through advocacy, education, and action.

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center: This 155-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary provides education about the natural environment to people of all ages. It plays a vital role in protecting native plants and animals in the heart of the city, where development threatens their survival.

Houston Peace & Justice Center: HPJC supports local environmental and environmental justice projects through volunteering, event sponsorship and small grants to activists.

Houston Wilderness: Houston Wilderness works with a broad-based alliance of business, environmental and government interests to protect and promote the 10 diverse ecoregions of the 13+ county area around Houston, Galveston Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico, including coastal prairies, forests, wetlands, and waterways

Katy Prairie Conservancy: Houston's growth is consuming thousands of acres of the Katy Prairie. Once lost, it will never be replaced and the loss of these lands threatens the well-being of people and wildlife in the region. Since 1992, KPC has been working to protect the prairie for people and wildlife.

T.E.J.A.S. Barrios (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services): Dedicated to working with communities in a way that actively empowers community members to take action and speak out for themselves. Projects include air monitoring, education, events, toxic tours and youth outreach.

Wildlife Center of Texas: Receives over 9,000 injured, ill and orphaned wild animals each year and is one of the largest wildlife care centers in the United States. Its mission is to care for injured, ill and orphaned wildlife through rehabilitation, public education and release.


AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse): This organization's mission is to end family violence by advocating for the safety and self-determination of victims, promoting accountability for abusers and fostering a community response to abuse. AVDA is dedicated to providing multilingual, transformational, life saving services to survivors of abuse and their families.

Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council: HCDVCC creates collaborations that maximize community resources, increase safety for victims of domestic violence, & hold perpetrators of domestic violence accountable.

Houston Peace & Justice Center: HPJC serves as an action center for peace and justice efforts. We provide peace education, activism training, and collaborative resources for individuals, families, and organizations throughout the Greater Houston area to build a just, non-violent community.

LGBT Switchboard Houston - 24 Hour Helpline: Provides domestic violence help and shelter; sexual assault and hate crimes support.

Lone Star Legal Aid - Military & Veterans Unit: Lone Star Legal Aid's Military & Veterans Unit (MVU) provides free civil legal services to low-income United States military veterans, their dependents, and surviving spouses throughout the State of Texas.

Texas Law Help: Free legal help for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

Veterans Services

Texas Veterans Portal: Veterans resources offered through the State of Texas

TexVet - Texas A&M Health: TexVet is the state clearinghouse for trusted information, resources, data, technical support, and research relevant to service members, veterans, their families, and those who serve them.

Combined Arms: Combined Arms streamlines the connection between veterans and their families from all branches of the military with organizations that serve them, creating pathways for them to access resources based on exactly what they've asked for, leaving the outdated model of "services in silos" behind.

Disney Careers/Heroes Work Here: Disney provides learning & development opportunities and other veterans resources.

Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Department of Labor: Every year, approximately 200,000 men and women leave U.S. military service and return to life as civilians, a process known as the military to civilian transition. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides information, tools, and training to ensure service members, and their spouses, are prepared for the next step in civilian life.

Veterans' Employment and Training Service: We prepare America's veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses for meaningful careers.

DAV: Military members separating from active duty should talk to a Transition Service Officer.

Registered Apprenticeship Program: To learn more about the benefits of developing a Registered Apprenticeship or how to formally register your program, visit our Registered Apprenticeship Program page or use our Partner Finder to contact your nearest apprenticeship consultant.

Wounded Warrior Project: Every warrior has a next mission. We know that the transition to civilian life is a journey. And for every warrior, family member, and caregiver, that journey looks different. We are here for their first step, and each step that follows. Because we believe that every warrior should have a positive future to look forward to.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation: We navigate a maze of more than 46,000 nonprofits to find, fund, and shape innovative programs in communities where our veterans, their families, and caregivers live and work. BWF leverages partnerships with leading nonprofits, corporations, the military and the government to meet the emerging and long-term needs of today's veterans and their families.

Military Community and Family Policy: Military Community and Family Policy is directly responsible for establishing quality-of-life policies and programs that help our guardians of country, their families, and survivors be well and mission ready. Military OneSource is the gateway to MC&FP programs and services that support the everyday needs of the 5.2 million service members and immediate family members of the military community.

Joining Forces: Joining Forces is a White House initiative to support military families, which includes: families of service members and veterans, caregivers and survivors. Our work is driven by their experiences.

Soldier For Life : Soldier For Life engages and connects the U.S. Army with organizations to support Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families to create opportunities. Once you earn the title Soldier, you are a Soldier for Life.

Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP): The Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) connects military spouses with hundreds of partner employers who have committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses.

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO): Ensures military spouses have 24-7 access to online education and career information, resources, tools and assessments. Using the tools and assessments, spouses can begin to explore their interests, skills, passions and personality type to determine the best fit for education and career choices. Provides information, guidance, and support with education, career, and life decisions including working with one-on-one with a professional career coach.

National Military Family Association: The National Military Family Association Volunteer Corps is made up of service members, spouses, parents, retirees, survivors, veterans and concerned citizens who want to support serving military family members. Transferring Occupational Licenses and Certifications: Information from the U.S.Department of Defense about some of the most popular occupations that require a license or certification.

Careers with High Portability: Information from the U.S. Department of Defense to help military spouses find fulfilling work, build on your skills and experience and supplement the family income in spite of frequent moves, use this information to help you make informed career choices.

USA Jobs: Guidance on hiring spouses and spousal job eligibility.