Creative, High-Tech Solutions to Meet Survivor Needs in Houston

September 12, 2017
Alexandra Ferber |

Creative, High-Tech Solutions to Meet Survivor Needs in Houston

(HOUSTON, TEXAS) The Salvation Army, a leader in emergency disaster response, is equipped with a high-tech tool that will provide Houstonians recovering from Hurricane Harvey with more efficient and effective access to assistance.

“Hurricane survivors’ needs differ greatly depending on the storm damage and their personal resources,” said Major Kent Davis, Area Commander, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston.  “We are able to address this with a creative solution.”

Dozens of Salvation Army staff and volunteers are dispatched daily to some of the hardest hit communities in the Houston area to offer counseling, prayer and to assist with access to resources. They are using an innovative web-based Community Needs Assessment tool to record valuable information about survivors’ needs while they are in the field. New iPads, donated by Best Buy and Fry's Electronics, allow teams to upload the information remotely.

“The Community Needs Assessment tool links the needs of the hurricane survivors and their addresses with Salvation Army donation warehouses in Houston,” explains Zack Hodgson, Liaison Officer with The Salvation Army’s Houston Incident Command Team, who developed the tool and its implementation. “This data will allow donations to be stocked and distributed from our warehouses based on need.

The new iPads also provide a means for Salvation Army teams to help survivors apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Crisis Cleanup, which links volunteer organizations with relief efforts.

“We are grateful to Best Buy and Fry's Electronics for their donations of iPads, which will prove to be a crucial asset,” said Major Davis. “We meet survivors who do not have access to the internet. Some do not have a car and they are unable to get to a FEMA registration center. So, when we connect with people and ask if they have registered and they say no, we can help them to do it right then and there.”

As of September 11, The Salvation Army has provided more than 134,000 meals, 107,000 drinks, and 84,000 snacks in the Greater Houston area in response to Hurricane Harvey. Emotional and Spiritual Care Officers have spoken with more than 7,100 first responders and survivors. The Salvation Army has also distributed thousands of blankets, cleaning kits, cleaning supplies, hygiene kits, furniture items, food boxes, infant supplies, pet supplies, toys and bottled water. 

“The Salvation Army is committed to providing hope and transforming lives,” said Major Davis. “Houstonians can rest assured knowing we are here to support them through the Hurricane Harvey recovery process and beyond.”

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index ( The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

Our Mission

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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