Almost a month after Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25, hundreds of Houston-area residents crowded in shelters is one of the many problems amidst the historic storm’s aftermath. Houston officials are already brainstorming ways to build and fund projects that will prevent this extreme destruction from repeating itself during another storm. Even after the hurricane weakened, Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some areas causing unimaginable flooding- nearly 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed causing more than 103,000 people in Texas have been approved for emergency assistance (financial aid for rent and lost property). Estimates put losses from the storm at $75 million and up to 30,000 people in need of temporary shelter. Whether you’re in need of assistance, looking to help out, or want to guide someone in need in the right direction, we’ve compiled a list of resources that will be useful to Houston residents. From finding places to sleep to replacing important documents, keep reading to find the help you need:
If your home was damaged and you’re in need of shelter, you could be eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance at a list of participating hotels , or stay for free at a Texas State Park (just call for availability). A third resource to find housing is the National Housing Locator System which was created in response to Hurricane Katrina. You can also apply for government disaster-assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program which provides financial aid and services to families who have uninsured or underinsured expenses and needs. Assistance from FEMA available for Harvey-affected families include grants for: temporary housing and home repairs, replacements of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged homes safe and sanitary, and replacement of personal property. State and local assistance, separate from FEMA, may include covering the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures, payment towards repairs of public facilities (roads, bridges, etc), and payment toward hazard mitigation projects to reduce risk of property and life from natural disasters.
Families in need of food may qualify for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) which gives low income households food assistance after suffering losses from natural disasters.
If your job was affected by the hurricane and you need financial assistance to get you back on your feet, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance through the Texas Workforce Commission, you can call weekdays from 8-6pm at 800-939-6631.
Replacing Lost Documents
Another major problem you may face is recovering and replacing important documents. For documents like deeds or real estate records, brand registrations, and marriage licenses contact the county clerk where you received the original document. For birth certificates, contact the Texas Department of State Health Services and for driver’s licenses or state identification cards, visit your local department of public safety (DPS) (but go to the DMV for your certificate of title). If you need a new passport, contact the U.S. State Department, but for Certificate of Citizenship or a new green card, go to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website . Finally, to replace your Social Security Card, you can try and get a replacement online if you have a mySocialSecurity account but if you’re not eligible, you’ll have to request replacement by mail or in person. This link will help you figure out what documents you need to request a new SS card.
For all the families (Texans or not) affected by the hurricane, Team Aceable is thinking of you and taking efforts to help in as many ways as we can!