Hurricane Harvey has passed, but his damage lingers on as Irma heads for Florida

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Karen McCrocklin

Dallas LGBT activist Karen McCrocklin has raised more than $20,000 since Hurricane Harvey first made landfall in one of the more successful local disaster relief efforts launched by individuals rather than an organization.

Last week, McCrocklin delivered a jon boat she was given to Houston to aid in the relief efforts. Since then, she’s been collecting supplies and has made several additional trips. Friends of hers have been helping as well, including author Dana Liesegang.

Liesegang wrote the book Falling Up: My Wild Ride from Victim to Kick-Ass Victory, about being raped, thrown off a cliff and left to die.

“Dana is the most positive, can-do person I know,” McCrocklin said. “And she’s here helping others.”

Although bound to a wheelchair, Liesegang drove to Dallas from her home in Colorado in her van. McCrocklin filled her van with supplies and Liesegang drove those supplies to Houston.

In addition to running relief supplies, such as personal hygiene kits, down to the Houston area, McCrocklin plans to put teams together to help with the recovery effort.

“We will be organizing volunteer groups to go to Houston to help demolish and clean homes, starting next week and continuing for months,” she said.

“If you are willing to take a weekend or other time to go put your skills to work, we will be organizing that soon.”

Those interested in helping with sheetrock removal and other demolition or cleaning homes can contact McCrocklin through her Facebook page.

McCrocklin’s relief fund is at GoFundMe.com/dallas-for-harvey.

Medication help
Anyone who evacuated from Hurricane Harvey and needs help replacing medication may call the Texas Medication Program at 800-255-1090 for assistance.

In Dallas, Prism Health North Texas is providing help through its clinics for people with HIV. The agency warns that exposure to floodwater, spoiled food or contaminated drinking water can lead to serious illnesses, especially in people with weakened immune systems.

Evacuees who need to see a doctor or consult with an HIV specialist may call Prism Health. They will connect them with the clinics in either Oak Cliff or South Dallas.

Benefit show
Cassie Nova is hosting a benefit show in the Rose Room on Sept. 10 to benefit the American Red Cross.

Among the performers scheduled to participate are Kelexis Davenport, Jenna Skyy, Layla LaRue, Krystal Summers, Sasha Andrew, Chanel LaMasters, Mulan, Raquel Blake, Athena O’hara, Alexis Rayne, Fantasha, Rocky Tacoma, May May graces, Bleach, Ariel O’hara, Daphne Rio, your Highness, Starr Michaels and Bianca Star.

Doors open at 6 p.m. The show begins at 7 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested. All tips and donations will go to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Texas Workforce Commission is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance from anyone who lives in, works in or travels through the counties covered by the Presidential Disaster Declaration and who are out of work as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Self-employed individuals impacted by the storm are eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

Parade
A banner at the front of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade will honor evacuees and displaced people from across South Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Parade director Michael Doughman said he hadn’t heard of any specific fundraising efforts that will take place during the festival on Sept. 16 or at the parade on Sept. 17. But he said he’d be open to a group participating in the festival collecting cash donations or taking pledges for donations for hurricane relief.

Other individual efforts
A number of fundraising efforts have popped up across Dallas to assist the relief effort. We’ve been following Nonnie Ouch, who is raising money for Friends For Life Animal Rescue and Adoption Organization — Houston.

She said she’s having some trouble drawing attention to her fundraiser.

“Facebook is so inundated with people raising money that it’s hard to get people to donate,” she said, but she hopes to raise a few hundred dollars more to help displaced pets.

The fundraiser can be accessed on her Facebook page.

Cathedral of Hope
Several members of Cathedral of Hope were deployed with the Texas National Guard for the initial storm response.

The church has been hosting members of the trans community who were forced to evacuate. Among them was Paula Reading, chair of the Transgender Veterans Support Group who lives in Rockport. She said this week that her property was destroyed, but she drove her motor to Dallas before the storm and rode out the storm parked at the church, so that she and her partner were safe.

Donations from the church are being funneled through the United Church of Christ hurricane fund at UCC.org, working with Montrose Center, which has established an LGBT relief fund.

Scott Stout, assistant to Neil Cazares-Thomas, said the church is focusing on collecting feminine hygiene products and diapers. He said there seems to still be a great need for those items.

AIDS
Drug manufacturer Gilead is making a $1 million donation to HIV/AIDS organizations impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and by Hurricane Irma, which was still in the Caribbean at press time and apparently headed for Florida after damaging several Caribbean islands. Agencies that would like to apply for funding from this donation may apply at AIDSUnited.org.

AIDS United donated an additional $150,000 to this fund and donations by individuals, organizations and businesses may be made to its hurricane relief fund at the AIDS United website.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 8, 2017.