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Winter Storm Uri - Disaster Relief and Recovery

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On February 19, 2021, President Joseph Biden approved a major disaster declaration for the following Texas counties: Angelina, Aransas, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson and Wise.

On February 23, 2021, an additional 31 Texas counties were added to the above list: Anderson, Austin, Bosque, Bowie, Burnet, Cherokee, Colorado, Erath, Fannin, Freestone, Gonzalez, Grayson, Gregg, Harrison, Hill, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jim Wells, Jones, Limestone, Lubbock, Medina, Milam, Navarro, Rusk, Taylor, Tom Green, Val Verde, Washington, and Wood.  Click here for the press release.

On February 26, 2021, an additional 18 counties were added to the above list: Atascosa, Bandera, Brooks, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Goliad, Howard, Jim Hogg, Karnes, Kleberg, Leon, Llano, Newton, Robertson, Trinity, Webb and Willacy.  Click here for the press release.

Federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.  Click here for a helpful publication from Lone Star Legal Aid regarding how FEMA can help.  Note your deadline to apply for assistance is April 20, 2021.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, downloading the FEMA app, or by calling 1-800-621-3362 (1-800-462-7585 TTY).

If you live in a county not listed above, report your damages  to www.TDEM.Texas.gov/warm.  The Texas Division of Emergency Management is providing FEMA with damage totals so they can make a determination to provide assistance to these additional counties.

 

Disaster Relief - Free Legal Assistance & Information

Click here for a listing of places and resources that can help you recover from the disaster.

Click below for publications regarding a variety of winter storm legal issues that may be helpful:

 

 

Disaster Relief Resources

 

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Recovering from a Disaster: Steps to take after a disaster

Visit Ready.gov for steps you can take to recover from a disaster.

State Law Library Online Database

Disaster Relief Resources

Please click the link above for over 20 useful articles on the law affecting you as you recover from the disaster. Resources include information on:

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What FEMA can do to help you.

FEMA is updating its information as it responds to the disaster. Visit the FEMA website for current information the agency's response.

Also, go to TexawLawHelp's page about what FEMA can do to help you recover from a disaster.

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Disaster Assistance

DisasterAssistance.gov can help you prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Specifically, you can learn how to deal with immediate needs like:

  • Evacuation
  • Finding Emergency Shelter
  • Getting food and water
 
Helpful Organizations - Legal Resources
 

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Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas

If you need legal assistance after a disaster and are in North Central Texas (including Dallas and Ft. Worth) through the Panhandle, you can call Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas at 1-888-529-5277.

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Disaster Legal Aid: Resources for People Who Need Help

Please click the link above for the national disaster legal aid website. It is specifically designed to help those who are having issues related to natural disasters. 

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Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

If you need legal assistance after a disaster and are in southwest Texas, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, or Austin you can call Texas RioGrande Legal Aid at 1-888-988-9996. 

 

Lone Star Legal Aid

If you need legal assistance after a disaster and are in southeast Texas, Houston, Waco, Tyler, Galveston, or Longview you can call Lone Star Legal Aid at 800-733-8394 (main).  To apply for services, contact your local office.

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Texas Disaster Legal Help

Many attorneys donate their time after a natural disaster. Visit Texas Disaster Legal Help to apply for disaster legal aid and pro bono help.

 
Other Helpful Resources
 

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American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is on site and ready to help those affected by the disaster:

  • Find Shelter and Food
  • Find Family Members
  • And More

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Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies specializes in providing inclusive relief to those with disabilities. If you or someone you know needs medical equipment or help accessing emergency programs, they can help.

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National Distress Helpline for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

To find local treatment, support groups, and other mental health and substance abuse resources, call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The National Helpline is operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. You can also visit the National Helpline webpage for more information.

 

State Bar of Texas Legal Disaster Relief Resources

The State Bar of Texas has put together a page detailing the various forms of assistance available to help. Please visit the Texas Bar's disaster webpage more information.

The State Bar of Texas legal hotline helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters. 

Call 800-504-7030

 

National Council on Aging

NCOA provides an overview of benefit programs that can help with energy assistance needs, including Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Weatherization Assistance Program, and Emergency Assistance. Please visit the NCOA website for more information.

 

National Consumer Law Center

NCLC provides resources for consumers and advocates on mitigating the impact of disasters, covering topics like housing relief, avoiding home repair fraud, and utility issues.

 
Resources for Advocates

National Center on Law and Elder Rights

The National Center on Law and Elder Rights has the following tips and resources tho help professionals assist clients after a disaster: 

 

Texas Disaster Assistance Manual   

Click here for the Disaster Assistance Manual, a resource available to attorney volunteers who are fielding questions from those affected by disasters.
 

Legal Aid Disaster Resource Center

Click here for legal resources and critical information for legal aid professionals, pro bono volunteers, and the disaster survivors they assist.
 
 

Seeing Unusually High Prices? Report Price Gouging.

Attorney General Ken Paxton warns Texans that state law prohibits price gouging in the wake of a declared disaster. The AG’s office advises: If you feel that you are being unfairly charged for goods or services such as drinking water, food, batteries, generators, gasoline, or towing, raise the issue of price gouging with the provider. Speak to the provider respectfully but be frank. If you are unable to resolve the matter, file a complaint with the office.

 

 

Winter Storm Uri - Court Deadlines - Important Update

The Texas Supreme Court has noted on its website: "The Court recognizes that many across Texas are facing weather-related outages.  The Court's current 33rd emergency order is broad and allows all courts to modify or suspend any and all deadlines and procedures to accommodate those affected."

Read the Court's 33rd emergency order here.

 

 

Preparing for Future Winter Storms

The following organizations and agencies have tips to help you prepare for severe winter weather:

 

Video: Disaster Recovery Tips

Lone Star Legal Aid has tips to help you get help, repair damage, and recover from Winter Storm Uri.