This is the nineteenth section of the Disaster Manual. This section contains information on resources available to help disaster victims. This resource is meant for volunteer lawyers.This resource was written by Lone Star Legal Aid.
Private community organizations or one or more local, state, or federal agencies can provide disaster assistance when a referral to an attorney is not the best course of action. In addition to providing emergency information, this guide lists resources, community service organizations, and government agencies with offices located in the areas where the people are being temporarily housed. It also includes the toll-free numbers for many state and federal agencies.
Disaster Manual Table of Contents
Click each title to go to that section of the manual. - Index Page
- FEMA Assistance
- Falling Trees, Flying Limbs & Loud Neighbors
- Landlord/Tenant Issues
- Real and Personal Property
- Employer/Employee Issues
- Social Security, Banking, and Financial Issues
- Consumer Protection Issues
- Insurance Issues
- Health Care Issues
- Personal Bankruptcy Issues
- Replacing Lost Documents
- Family Law Issues
- Immigration Issues
- Community Organizations/Small Businesses
- Wills and Estates Planning
- Disability Rights in Disasters
- Resource & Referral Guide
19.1 General Assistance (Federal)
The White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have created a website with resources related to COVID-19. There is information for everyone, including people who may think they are sick, travelers, pregnant women, children, and small businesses.
The federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration ended on May 11, 2023. As such, while reporting frequency and source data for some metrics will subside, the agency will continue to report valuable data to inform individual and community health actions to protect the nation’s health. The website below remains in operation with current details about COVID-19 health measures.
The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) provides disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners.
The site allows individuals to:
Call 7 A.M. to 11 P.M. ET, 7 days a week:
Or write to:
FEMA Internet Help Desk
FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers
FEMA’s Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) assists individuals and communities in recovering from natural and human-caused disasters through community-based outreach and access to mental health services.
Disaster Distress Helpline—1-800-985-5990 FEMA Helpline—1-800-621-3362 (TTY number: 1-800-846-8517).
For more information:
19.1 Emergency Housing (Federal)
|General||Search for open shelters near you by texting SHELTER and a Zip Code to 4FEMA (43362). Example: “SHELTER 01234.” Using this option does not add you to any messaging service.|
|FEMA Evacuee Hotels||
FEMA has approved non-congregate sheltering assistance for some individuals and households impacted by earthquake activity in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Individuals and households eligible for this assistance will receive communication directly from FEMA officials explaining the process for accessing and checking into available lodging.
If you received damages as a result of the earthquake and have questions regarding FEMA assistance, please call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362; for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or with speech disabilities, the Teletypewriter number is 1-800-462-7585.
|American Red Cross||
You can find shelters by:
Enter your zip code at the top of the screen to find the nearest Salvation Army location:
19.1 Family Locators (Federal)
|Safe and Well||
The American Red Cross maintains a web-based system that helps reunite friends and family displaced by a disaster. For reunification requests call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).
|National Center for Missing & Exploited Children||
The National Emergency Child Locator Center is operated by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and may be activated through a request to FEMA from a State, Tribe, or Territory during Presidentially-declared disasters. The primary mission is to assist with the reunification of children who have become separated from their parents or legal guardians.
Individuals reporting or searching for a child missing as a result of a disaster should call the NEMEC at 1-800-843-5678; it is staffed 24 hours a day.
|Next of Kin Registry||
The Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) is a FREE tool for daily emergencies and national disasters. NOKR is your emergency contact system to help if you or your family member is missing, injured, or deceased.
USA.gov also offers other sources for locating family.
19.1 Finding and Caring for Pets (Federal)
For a list of pet-friendly hotels, please visit:
|Animal Assistance Organizations||
Humane Society (HQ Washington, DC)
Wings of Rescue
Best Friends Animal Society
19.1 Legal Services Hotlines (Federal)
|Disaster Legal Services Program||
The purpose of Disaster Legal Services (DLS) is to provide legal assistance to low-income individuals who, prior to or as a result of the disaster, are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their disaster-related needs.
Texas 1-800-504-7030 (Routed to legal aid providers in individual’s area)
*Hotline is available in English and Spanish
|Advocates for Disaster Justice||
The Advocates for Disaster Justice serves as a centralized national resource for legal aid, pro bono, and criminal defender attorneys across the country on legal issues related to all types of disasters.
|State Bar Associations||
19.1 International Evacuees (Federal)
|General Consulate Information||www.usembassy.gov|
|Select Embassy Information in Houston, Texas||
19.1 Insurance Information (Federal)
|HealthCare.gov and COVID-19||
All Marketplace plans cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions and can’t terminate coverage due to a change in health status, including diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.
You should check with your health insurance company for your specific benefits and coverage policy, regardless of who your provider is.
If you lost your job, experienced hours reduction or were furloughed, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and could be eligible for coverage through HealthCare.gov.
If you can’t pay premiums because of COVID-related hardship, check with your insurance company about extending your premium payment deadline or ask if they will delay terminating your coverage if you can’t pay your premiums.
|National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)||The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.
|National Association of Insurance Commissioners||1-816-783-8500
19.1 Charitable Organizations (Recommended by FEMA) (Federal)
|American Red Cross Disaster Donations||Donate—1-800-435-7669
|Red Cross of Houston||1-713-526-8300—2700 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX
|Catholic Charities in Houston-Galveston||1-713-526-4611—2900 Louisiana Street, Houston, TX
1-713-227-9981—326 South Jensen Drive, Houston, TX
|Salvation Army Disaster Relief||1-713-752-0677—1500 Austin Street, Houston, TX
19.1 Federal Agencies and Resources (Federal)
|U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal||This web portal has links to many agencies and programs.
|Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (through the U.S. Department of Labor)||The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides temporary benefits to people who, due to a major disaster, lost or had their employment or self-employment interrupted.
|Equal Employment Opportunity Commission||1-800-669-4000
ASL Video Phone—1-844-234-5122
email@example.com (include zip code and/or city and state so that your email will be sent to the appropriate office)
|Social Security Administration||1-800-772-1213
|United States Postal Service||1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777)
USPS is reminding customers to complete change-of-address requests, especially if they expect to be out of their homes for extended periods.
|U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (Medicare)||
VA Crisis Line (available 24/7)—1-800-273-8255 then press 1
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline—988
|Department of Education||1-800-872-5327
TTY number—1-800-877 8339
|U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)||Fraud Line—1-800-347-3735
Fair Housing TTY number—1-800-877-8339
Ft. Worth Regional Office—1-817-978-5600
Houston Field Office—1-713-718-3199
San Antonio Field Office—1-210-475-6800
|Internal Revenue Service||1-800-829-1040
|Federal Citizen Information Center (f/k/a Federal Consumer Information Center)||The U.S. Government Publishing Office Pueblo Distribution Center is a trusted one-stop source for answers to questions about consumer problems and government services. The Pueblo.GPO.gov website is where consumers can go to find information and order publications on a variety of topics from the federal government.
|U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)||Report Crimes—1-866-347-2423
|Department of Homeland Security||Main—1-202-282-8000
|Small Business Administration (SBA)||
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans to small businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace uninsured/underinsured disaster damaged property.
Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
Apply online at www.sba.gov, in person at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, or by mail.
|COVID-19 CARES Act of 2020 and SBA Coronavirus Relief Options||
Following the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.
The CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak and its effect on businesses. These programs include:
|SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)||
The PPP is a loan designed to provide incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The PPP ended on May 31, 2021, but existing borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for 8 to 24 weeks following loan disbursement; if the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities; and if at least 60% of the money is used for payroll.
Apply for loan forgiveness through your PPP lender and complete SBA Form 3508, SBA Form 3508EZ, SBA Form 3508S, or a lender equivalent. You will also need to provide payroll information for all payroll periods that overlap with the covered period and all documentation related to expenses that occurred during the covered period.
|Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)||
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) provides financial assistance to venue operators or promoters that faced financial hardship due to COVID-19. The business must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020. Entities that suffered the highest gross revenue loss between April 2020 and December 2020 will have the highest priority.
For eligible entities in operation as of January 1, 2019, grants will be either 45% of 2019 gross earned revenue or $10 million, whichever is less. For eligible entities that began operation after January 1, 2019, grants will be the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month of operation in 2019 multiplied by six or $10 million, whichever is less.
For more information, visit—www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/shuttered-venue-operators-grant.
Notice: SVOG is no longer accepting new applications. The SVOG portal remains open to all active applicants and awardees.
The CARES Act raised the small business bankruptcy debt ceiling to $7,500,000. Small businesses looking to file bankruptcy rely on Subchapter V of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. To qualify, total debts of a business previously had to be less than $2,725,625.
For more information, visit: www.natlawreview.com/article/inside-cares-act-changes-to-bankruptcy-code-under-cares-act.
For businesses considering bankruptcy, please consult with an attorney (see “Legal Services” below).
19.1 Credit Bureaus (Federal)
19.2 General Assistance (Texas)
19.2 Emergency Housing (Texas)
|Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs (search low-income housing by city or county)||
Emergency & Homeless Services
19.2 Child Support Checks (Texas)
|Texas||Texas Attorney General
19.2 Unemployment Assistance (Texas)
|Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)||Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) provides unemployment benefits for individuals who lost their jobs or self-employment or who are no longer working as a direct result of a major disaster or for which a disaster assistance period is declared, and who applied but are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
Texas Workforce Commission Tele-Center:
Call weekdays 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
19.2 Insurance Information (Texas)
19.2 Legal Services (Texas)
|State Bar of Texas||Phone: 1-512-427-1463
Call weekdays 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
|Houston Bar Association||LegalLine is a hotline designed to help the people of Houston receive simple legal advice, answers, and referrals for free. All volunteers are Texas- licensed attorneys.
The Houston Bar Association is currently holding virtual LegalLine sessions on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Use the following link to sign up for a session:
|Lone Star Legal Aid||Lone Star Legal Aid serves 72 counties in Texas and four in Arkansas, an area that covers one-third of the state of Texas, including almost 60,000 square miles from Texarkana to the Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast state line, down to Matagorda Bay, and four counties in southwest Arkansas.
Houston Office—1-713-652-0077; 1-800-733-8394
Beaumont Office—1-409-835-4971; 1-800-365-1861
Galveston Office—1-409-763-0381; 1-800-551-3712
|Texas RioGrande Legal Aid||Servicing South, Central, and West Texas.
Disaster-related questions—1-956-996-TRLA (8752)
|Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas||Eviction-related questions—1-855-548-8457
To apply, visit www.lanwt.org/gethelp
|Disability Rights Texas||1-800-252-9108
Sign Language Video Phone—1-866-362-2851
|Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse||1-713-224-9911
24-Hour National DV Hotline—1-800-799-7233
|American Civil Liberties Union||1-713-942-8146
El Paso Office—1-915-533-8091
Rio Grande Valley Office—1-956-338-1603
|Family Violence Legal Hotline||1-800-374-HOPE (4673)
19.2 Real Estate and Housing re: Coronavirus (Texas)
Texas REALTORS has a FAQ page with information regarding leasing and property management. There are resources for residential renters and landlords.
19.2 Legal Services (Bexar County) (Texas)
19.2 Legal Services (Travis County) (Texas)
19.2 Texas Attorney General (Texas)
|Main Agency Switchboard||
|Consumer Complaints (e.g., price gouging)||1-800-621-0508|
|Public Information & Assistance (Constituent Affairs||1-800-252-8011 or 1-512-475-4413 (in Austin)|
|Consumer protection hotline||1-800-621-0508|
|Child Support (to apply for services)||1-800-252-8014 (automated information) or 1-512-460-6000 (Weekdays 8:30 A.M.—4:30 P.M.)|
19.2 Other State Agencies & Resources (Texas)
|Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services (helping with physical or mental disabilities in employment matters)||
Division for Rehabilitative Services—1-254-770-5800
Division for the Blind—1-254-753-1552
|Texas Department of Mental Health||
1-512-776-7111 / 1-888-963-7111 1-800-989-6884 (Texas Youth Hotline)
|Texas Department of State Health Services (including mental health)||
1-512-776-7111 / 1-888-963-7111
|Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs||
1-512-475-3800 / 1-800-525-0657
|Department of Licensing & Regulation||
1-512-463-6599 / 1-800-803-9202
|Department of Public Safety||
DPS Driver License & Customer Service—1-512-424-2600
|Division of Worker’s Compensation||
|Texas Department of Education||
|Texas Health and Human Services— Aging||
19.3 Alcoholics Anonymous
19.3 Immigration Services
|Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of Galveston-Houston||
1-713-595-4100 / 1-713-874-6750 (St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance)
|Central American Resource Center||
|Casa Juan Diego||
|Immigration Counseling Center||
19.3 Family, Women, and Youth Services
|Family, Women, and Youth Services||
|Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, Inc. (AAMA)||
|Avance Family Support & Education Program (AAMA)||
|Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston||
|Casa de Esperanza/Bilingual||
|Community Family Center/Bilingual||
|Child Advocates, Inc.||
|Children Assessment Center, (The CAC)||
|Children’s Protective Services—Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults||
To report abuse or neglect—1-800-252-5400
TRIAD Prevention Program—1-713-295-2600
|DePelchin Children’s Center||
Toll Free Outside of Houston—1-888-730-2335
|Escape Family Resource Center||
|Family Life Ministry||
|Family Services of Greater Houston||
|Family Time Crisis Hotline||
|Jewish Community Center||
|Jewish Family Service||
|Justice for Children||
|Learning Support Center at Texas Children’s Hospital||
Speech, Language, and Learning—1-832-822-3280
|Aids to Victims of Domestic Abuse||
|S.H.A.P.E. Community Center||
Harambee Administrative Office—1-713-521-0629
Nia Becnel Family Center—1-713-521-0641
|University of Texas Psychiatric Services||
|University of Houston-Parent Education Project||
Families Can Program—1-713-743-5491
|University of Houston-Psychology Research & Services Center||
|Texas Crime Victims Clearinghouse (Victim Services Division)||
|Women’s Hospital of Texas Education Department||
|Bay Area Turning Point||
|The Bridge Over Troubled Waters||
24-Hour Emergency Hotline—1-713-473-2801
Administration (Pasadena Office)—1-713-472-0753
Administration (Baytown Office)—1-281-420-5600
|Women’s Center of Brazoria County||
24-Hour Hotline (Central & South County)—1-800-243-5788
24-Hour Hotline (North County)—1-281-585-0902
|Fort Bend County Women’s Center||
|Houston Area Women’s Center||
Domestic Violence Hotline—1-713-528-2121
Sexual Assault Hotline—1-713-528-7273
|Montgomery County Women’s Center||
24-Hour Hotline (Spanish) —1-936-441-7273 Business—1-936-441-4044
19.3 Senior Services
|Alzheimer’s Association—Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter||
|American Cancer Society||
|American Diabetes Association||
Central South Texas—1-713-977-7706
|American Heart Association||
|Houston/Harris County Area Agency on Aging||
1-832-393-4301 / 1-800-213-8471
|Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston||
|Legal Hotline for Texans||
1-800-622-2520, Option 3
|New Lifestyles—The Source for Senior Living||
1-800-869-9549 / 1-214-824-0022
Visit www.newlifestyles.com for the contact number in your area.
Salvation Army Family Shelter
Salvation Army Social Services
1-713-752-0677 / 1-800-725-2769
|Senior Guidance Program of the Houston Junior Forum||
|West University Place, City of Senior Services||
19.4 Houston Area Helpful Numbers
|Houston City Hall||
|Houston Health Department||
|Houston Housing Authority||
TTY (for the hearing impaired)—1-713-260-0547
|Automobile Registration (Harris County)||
|County Clerk (Harris County)||
|Child Support Customer Service Center||
|Harris County Department of Education||
|Harris County District Clerk||
|Harris County Information Center (Online Directory)||
Personal Records Department—1-713-274-8686
|Probate Clerk’s Office||Visit www.co.harris.tx.us/probate to determine the appropriate probate court.|
|Harris County Veterans Services Office||
|Texas Department of State Health Services (including mental health)||
|Texas Department of Insurance||
Consumer Help Line—1-800-252-3439
|Texas Workforce Commission (Houston Office)||
|Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services (DARS)—now with Texas Health and Human Services Commission||
|Texas Department of Insurance— Division of Worker’s Compensation||
1-800-252-7031, Option 1
|Texas Workers Compensation Health & Safety Hotline||
1-800-252-7031, Option 2
|Texas Veterans Commission||
Crisis Hotline—988, Press 1
|Federal Courts, Southern District of Texas||
|Small Claims Courts||Visit www.jp.hctx.net/default.htm to determine the appropriate justice of the peace court.|
|Jail Division Public Information Website||
Incarcerated Person Information—1-713-755-5300
|Non-Emergency number (Harris County Sheriff)||
|Jury Summons Information for Harris County||
1-713-221-6000 / 1-713-755-6392 (after 10 A.M.)
|Texas Department of Criminal Justice||
Visit www.tdcj.state.tx.us to determine the appropriate division.
|Harris County Community Supervision & Corrections Department||
|Traffic Ticket Info/Municipal Courts||
|Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas||
|Better Business Bureau (Houston)||
|Texas Department of Insurance Consumer Help Line||
|National Association of the Remodeling Industry||
|U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission/Bilingual||
19.4 Houston Area Emergency Crisis and Intervention Services
19.4 Houston Area Additional Assistance
|Certified Public Accountant Referral (Houston CPA Society)||
|Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston Partnership||
|City of Houston||Check www.houstontx.gov for updated information on storm clean up and dial 3-1-1 with questions.|
|Greater Houston Fair Housing Center—Bilingual Intake for housing discrimination matter||
Check harrisrecovery.org for the latest information.
|Harris County Medical Society||
|Houston Apartment Association||
|Houston Association of Realtors||
HAR Central Office—1-713-629-1900
|Univision, KXLN-TV Spanish News Station||
|Library Public Houston (General)||
Central Library, Jesse H. Jones Building—1-832-393-1313
|Harris County Law Library||
|Federal Public Defenders||
|Copies of State & Federal Laws||
Texas State Law Library:
Texas Legislature Online
|Harris County Tax Assessor & Collector||
|Solid Waste Management Department||
Solid Waste Management is responsible for storm debris collection in the city of Houston.
Or call 3-1-1 for debris drop-off locations and pick-up information. For instructions on separating your debris for removal, see: www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/debris_08302017.html.
19.5 Beaumont Area Helpful Numbers
|American Red Cross (Beaumont Chapter)||
|Buckner Children & Family Services||
|Communities In Schools, Southeast Texas, Inc.||
|Family Services of Southeast Texas||
24-Hour Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline—1-409-832-7575 / 1-800-621-8882
|Goodwill Industries of Southeast Texas, Inc.||
|Nutrition & Services for Seniors—Meals on Wheels of Jefferson and Hardin Counties||
|Some Other Place||
|The Salvation Army of Beaumont||
|United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County||
|Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau||
|SE Texas Food Bank||
|Blood and Plasma Research, Inc.||
|LifeShare Blood Centers||
Address legal problems resulting from a disaster
Address legal problems resulting from a disaster
Address legal problems resulting from a disaster