Victims of flooding from Hurricane Harvey have a number of resources available to seek assistance. Below is a list of some of those sources:
Registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance since the event will last several days and the full scope of damages may not be immediately evident. If you are unable to access the internet, you can also call 1-800-621-3362. Install the FEMA App, available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices.
When you register for disaster assistance either online or by phone, you will need the following to complete your application: Social Security number, address of the location where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address), current mailing address, current telephone number, insurance information, total household annual income, routing and account number for your checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into your bank account), and a description of your disaster-caused damage and losses.
Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Individuals, corporations, and volunteers nationally can learn more about how to help on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website. Individuals, corporations, and volunteers in the state visit the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD which has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to storm victims. Texas VOAD represents more than three dozen faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.
For more information about veteran’s services within the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, visit www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/40556/responding-needs-veterans-affected-hurricane-harvey/.
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
If you are located in a disaster declared area, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Visit www.sba.gov/harvey/.
AMERICAN RED CROSS
Use the American Red Cross’ Safe and Well program to let family members know you are safe, or look for loved ones.
For Disaster Relief and Recovery resources offered by the American Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery-services.
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
Visit www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey for more information on health and safety, disaster assistance, replacing vital documents and other recovery resources.
The Texas Department of Public Safety will provide a no-cost replacement DL or ID card for residents in impacted counties who had previously been issued a Texas DL or ID card.
To apply for disaster unemployment benefits, visit texvet.org.
Visit United Ways of Texas for local information and resources at https://www.uwtexas.org/.
Homeowners are highly encouraged to file a claim with their insurance provider. It is important that homeowners understand the difference between a homeowners policy and a flood insurance policy.
A homeowner’s property insurance policy is administered through an insurance provider such as State Farm, Farmers, Travelers, etc. This policy will cover things related to Harvey and its tornados such as roof leaks, structural damage and content loss. Regarding water damage from rainfall to the structure, the homeowner’s policy will cover water damage that comes from the sky.
Flood insurance is administered by FEMA and is underwritten by insurance companies. Flood insurance is what provides coverage from water damage that results from rising flood water. This means that the flooding caused by Harvey or the rising river water that causes damage is covered under a flood insurance policy. A homeowner’s property insurance policy will not cover damage due to rising floodwaters. For information on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) homeowners can refer to www.floodsmart.gov.
Small Business Owners are not eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance. They can apply for loans through the SBA at www.sba.gov. For more information, contact Division Chief of Training/Emergency Management Coordinator Jaime Ponce de Leon’s office at 281-403-4370.
FREE LEGAL HELP
The State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association (ABA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other organizations have partnered to help provide legal and recovery assistance to people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
A toll-free legal hotline (800-504-7030) is available to connect low-income individuals affected by the disaster with local legal aid providers.
Callers to the hotline can leave a message at any time. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help.
Victims should be aware that there are some limitations on disaster legal services. For example, assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee (i.e., those cases where attorneys are paid part of the settlement by the court). Such cases are referred to a local lawyer referral service.