Disaster Relief Resources

  • Para documentos y videos en Español, clic aquí.

  • If you would like to volunteer with or donate to organizations helping separated immigrant families, go to texasbar.com/volunteer.

  • If you would like to donate money to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, click here.

When disasters strike Texas, the State Bar serves as a clearinghouse for disaster response resources for the public and attorneys.

The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions by connecting them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters. The toll-free hotline — answered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese— is designed to connect low-income people affected by a disaster with legal aid providers in their area who can help with such issues as replacing lost documents, insurance questions, landlord-tenant problems, and consumer protection issues such as price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process. Callers can leave a message any time. People who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help.

If you need a lawyer, contact the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service at (800) 252-9690 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

TEXAS LEGAL ANSWERS

Texas Legal Answers — texaslegalanswers.org — is a free online legal advice clinic that allows Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey to post questions about their civil legal issues and receive answers from volunteer attorneys.

Hurricane Harvey

For information specific to Hurricane Harvey recovery, please go here.

BARRATRY OR IMPROPER SOLICITATION BY AN ATTORNEY 

In many cases it is a crime in Texas for a lawyer or someone representing a lawyer to contact a person for purposes of legal representation if the person has not first requested the call or personal visit. The contact is not illegal if the attorney is not seeking payment or has a preexisting professional-client or family relationship with the person being contacted. If you witness something you believe to be improper solicitation, or barratry, please get the name and phone number of the person making contact and report it to your local law enforcement authority or the State Bar Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office Toll Free at 866-224-5999.

REPLACING LOST DOCUMENTS

This guide created by the Texas Young Lawyers Association is intended to be an abbreviated checklist to help you obtain replacements of some of those necessary documents.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has a helpful guide full of tips on replacing lost documents. It is available here in English and in Spanish .

INSURANCE HELP

This presentation provides an overview on filing flood insurance claims. 

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has created a disaster relief guide to homeowners insurance in English and Spanish. The agency also has a guide to property loss claims in English and in Spanish.

Other tips on filing insurance claims can be found here.

VIDEO: Learn more about filing insurance claims for damage related to Hurricane Harvey

RENTERS RIGHTS

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has created this guide to help people understand their rights after the property they were renting was damaged in a disaster. It is also available in Spanish.

The agency also created this guide to lockout threats made by landlords. Here it is in English and in Spanish.

Also see this guide: A Legal Self-Help Guide for Tenants Affected by Natural Disaster

EMPLOYMENT ISSUES

You can learn more about employment during natural disasters through this guide created by the Texas Young Lawyers Association.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid also has disaster relief employment information in English and in Spanish.

The National Employment Law Project also created this fact sheet: Disaster Unemployment Assistance: How Workers Can Access the Program After Hurricane Harvey

EDUCATIONAL ISSUES

The Texas Young Lawyers Association has created this guide for enrolling your child in another school after a natural disaster.

Watch this video to learn more about education rights after a disaster.

IMMIGRANT ASSISTANCE

The Texas Immigrant Rights Hotline provides information about changing immigration laws and offers referrals to legal services providers and attorneys. The hotline operates 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays (except holidays). The number is 1-833-HOU-IMMI.

SCAMS AND PRICE GOUGING

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Consumer Protection Division offers the following tips to avoid contractor fraud during the clean-up and rebuilding process:

  • Contact an insurance adjuster to get an estimate of the damage and repair cost.

  • Don’t sign a check from your insurance company over to a contractor.

  • Only do business with licensed or bonded contractors or builders. Get multiple estimates.

  • Be cautious of contractors who solicit services door-to-door, especially those that are unfamiliar or from out of town and try to pressure you into signing a contract on the spot.

  • Get the salesperson’s license plate number.

  • Consult the Better Business Bureau to ensure you are working with a trustworthy business.

  • Ask for referrals from people you trust and for references from contractors.

  • Get more than one estimate on work, so you know if you’re being overcharged. Don’t be rushed into signing a contract and never pay in full up-front for promised work.

  • Consider paying by credit card to avail yourself of additional protections.

  • Get everything in writing, including the terms of any warranty, and keep a copy of all documents.

Additional information to help Hurricane Harvey victims protect against disaster-related scams is available on the attorney general’s website. Consumers can report suspicious or fraudulent activity by filing a complaint online.

Learn more about home repair scams here.

Read the Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring a Contractor or Other Professional After a Natural Disaster [PDF]. It is also available in Spanish.

DISASTER RELIEF CONTACTS

Please review the contacts and resources listed below. They can help you prepare for, survive, and recover from a disaster.
Non-profits

American Red Cross

(800) HELP-NOW

Salvation Army

(800) SAL-ARMY

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

(855) 626-7600

Texas Resources 

State of Texas

(877) 452-9060

Texas Emergency Preparedness Resources

Texas Division of Emergency Management

Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection

(800) 621-0508

Texas Department of Insurance

(800) 578-4677

Texas Department of Health and Human Services

(800) 436-6184

Texas Rural Mediation Services

(866) 329-3522

2-1-1 Texas Information and Referral Network

(877) 541-7905

Legal Resources 

State Bar of Texas Legal Disaster Hotline

(800) 504-7030

The State Bar of Texas

(800) 204-2222

State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral & Information Services

(800) 252-9690

Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas, Inc.

(866) 303-8303

Dallas Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

(214) 220-7444

Houston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

(713) 237-9429

San Antonio Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

(210) 227-1853

Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas

(855) 548-8457 

Lone Star Legal Aid

(800) 733-8394

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid

(866) 757-1570

Texas Legal Services Center

(800) 622-2520

TexasLawHelp.org

 

Texas Legal Answers

 

National Disaster Legal Aid website

Center for Law and the Public's Health

Federal Resources 

Flu.gov

(800) 232-4636

FEMA’s Federal Disaster Assistance Process for Individuals

(800) 621-FEMA (3362)

Department of Homeland Security

(202) 282-8000

Government Benefits Search

(800) 333-4636

Administration for Community Living

(202) 619-0724

Dept. of Health and Human Services

(877) 696-6775

Centers for Disease Control

(800) CDC-INFO

Small Business Administration

(800) 659-2955

Weather Safety Tips

For safety tips related to tornadoes, thunderstorms, and flooding, visit the Texas Department of Public Safety Severe Weather Awareness Web page.

Psychological & Counseling Resources 

Recovering Emotionally from a Disaster (American Psychological Association)

Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Phases of Traumatic Stress Reactions in a Disaster

American Red Cross

Salvation Army

Texas Department of State Health Services

Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (for Texas lawyers, judges and law students)

{Back to top}