Living and Lifestyle

Harvey disaster resources

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, dozens of government and community organizations have stepped up to help residents affected by the floods. For those who have lost homes, cars, pets and loved ones, these resources provide a guide for getting back on your feet after the destruction wrought by one of the most destructive storms in decades. This list is by no means exhaustive, but is a good start to begin the process of rebuilding.


Government assistance

Go to DisasterAssistance.gov to fill out a questionnaire to begin the process of applying for federal aid from FEMA.

Apply for federal aid for recovery of storm-caused damages and loss at FEMA.gov, or call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-462-7585. To register for recovery you will need:

Your Social Security number. If you don’t have one you still may be eligible for aid if there is someone in your household with one.

For businesses, you will need the Social Security number of the responsible party for the business.

Insurance information.

Financial information.

Your family’s gross total household income at the time of the disaster.

Contact information and the address and phone number where the damages occurred.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or direct deposit information (optional).

Banking information – bank name, type of account, routing and account number – if you are approved for assistance.

HoustonRecovers.org is the central hub for information on Harvey recovery. It will be updated once emergency operations are completed. Call the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management for information at 311 or 713-837-0311.

The City of Houston Helpline offers information on food assistance, water safety concerns, referrals to shelters and other information. Call 311 or 713-837-0311

For information on tax relief available for those living in the disaster areas go to IRS.gov or call IRS customer service representatives at 800-829-1040, available 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Housing assistance

The Salvation Army of Greater Houston, 1500 Austin, has three emergency shelters open to assist evacuees and those who have lost their homes: Harbor Light Center, 2407 N Main; Sally’s House, 1717 Congress; and Family Residence, 1603 McGowen; as well as 30 mobile kitchens providing hot meals, snacks and water to over a dozen neighborhoods in and around the Houston area. Call 713-752-0677.

Those eligible for FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance program may be able to stay at a participating hotel free of charge temporarily if they are unable to return home. For a list of participating hotels, go to femaevachotels.com, or contact FEMA to apply or with questions at 800-462-7585.

Harris County Housing and Community Resource Center helps with locating emergency shelters, rental properties and financial assistance. Call 713-696-1998.

Rebuildinghouston.org helps senior, disabled and veteran homeowners in Harris County with home rebuilding efforts. Call 713-659-2511.

Airbnb is helping find temporary housing for those displaced by the floods. Call 855-424-7262.

Legal assistance

The State Bar of Texas’s Disaster Hotline is answered in English, Spanish and Vietnamese and connects low-income people affected by a disaster with legal aid providers in their area who can help with issues such as replacing lost documents, answering insurance questions, helping with landlord/tenant problems, and handling consumer protection concerns such as price-gouging and contractor scams during the rebuilding process. Callers can leave a message at any time at 800-504-7030.

The Houston Bar Association has expanded its LegalLine program. Volunteer attorneys will assist affected residents with legal advice on landlord/tenant matters, insurance, FEMA assistance, property, lost documents and other storm-related issues. Lines are open 3-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Sept. 20. Call 713-759-1133 or 866-959-1133.

Food assistance

For a list of food pantries and other food assistance, contact the Houston Food Bank at 832-369-9390.

For disaster food stamp benefits, call the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) at 877-541-7905.

The Houston Health Department opened four Women, Infants and Children (WIC) sites dedicated to help people affected by Harvey’s unprecedented flooding. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., the sites will begin registering pregnant women, women who recently had a child, infants and children under the age 5 for WIC benefits. Sites are at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Walmart stores at 111 Yale Street, 11210 W. Airport and 9460 W. Sam Houston Parkway. Call 832-393-5427.

Property assistance

The National Flood Insurance Program answers questions for policyholders about the claims process at 800-621-3362.

To find an abandoned car, go to findmytowedcar.com or call 832-394-4869.

The Texas Department of Insurance has advice on what to do if your home or auto was damaged by Harvey, the insurance claims process and contractor fraud prevention and have extended its call center hours to 8 p.m. Call 800-252-3439 or go to tdi.texas.gov.

Harris County homeowners who have any type of property damage from Hurricane Harvey can now report it on the Harris County Appraisal District’s phone app, where they will be given options to identify whether the damage was to the home or garage. The app also provides an event damage report that lists options for the amount of water, an estimate of damage caused by a tornado or roof leaks and a section for fire damage. When the homeowner is ready to submit the report, they take a photo of the front and back of their driver’s license to verify the property owner’s identity. Call 713-821-5805 or email help@hcad.org.

Medical assistance

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Disaster Distress helpline is available 24/7, 365 days a year, for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Call 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Nonprofit assistance

United Way of Greater Houston offers a 24-hour helpline to assist disaster victims get the resources they need. Call 211.

Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston provides help for those in need, focusing on homebound seniors, refugee families and other vulnerable populations who will need extra resources after the storm. Call 713-533-4900.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has a Flood Relief Hotline. Call 713-874-6664.

The Islamic Society of Greater Houston is providing food, shelter and other emergency assistance. Call 832-941-0766.

Business assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans to small businesses, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters to repair or replace uninsured/underinsured disaster-damaged property. Apply at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call 800-659-2955.

The Texas Association of Business is offering assistance to business owners via a hotline during normal business hours. Call 512-637-7714 or email hurricane@txbiz.org.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers food, emergency housing, as well as farmer and rancher assistance to individuals and small businesses affected by severe storms and flooding. Call the Hurricane Harvey Information Line for Texas Producers at 866-680-6069.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Center Network opened a business recovery center where business owners can access a variety of specialized services free of charge. The Harris County center is located at 2302 Fannin and is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday- Friday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Cleanup resources

CrisisCleanup.org helps connect volunteers with those in need of help cleaning up. Call 844-965-1386.

Magpies Gifts Bellaire is picking up dirty laundry from flood victims in Belliare and Meyerland, having it cleaned and returning it to the owners as they go through the cleaning process. Message them on their Facebook page to arrange a pick up.

Locate missing loved ones or report fatalities

To report or locate a missing child, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 866-908-9570.

To find family or friends or to register yourself as safe, go to safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/.

To report the location of a body, call 911. Please do not attempt to move or disturb the body in any way.

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