Harvey has devastated virtually every facet of life throughout the Texas Gulf Coast and beyond. Recovery will be a historic effort. But through supporting each other, we can begin to rebuild our lives, homes, neighborhoods and communities.
After natural disasters, relief agencies often rely on the help of volunteers. However, most agencies require that volunteers undergo specific training before they are deployed. If you're interested in volunteering, contact the American Red Cross, Salvation Army or other relief agency prior to a hurricane to help ensure that you're registered and trained to volunteer after a disaster.
Houston Area Links
Navigate the categories here for expanded lists and direct links to recovery resources.
- Police, Firefighters, Ambulance: 911 or 713-884-3131
- Any needing non-life-threatening help: 211
- U.S. Coast Guard Houston Command Center:
- Rescue Houston: 713-322-8000
- National Guard: 713-578-3000 / 1-800-578-3000
- Office of Emergency Management:
- Federal Disaster Assistance: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
- City of Houston (Emergency/Rescue): 311 or 713-837-0311
- Roadside Assistance: 800-525-5555
- Houston American Red Cross: 713-526-8300 or 866-526-8300
- Houston TranStar (Transportation and Emergency Services): 713-881-3244
- CenterPoint Energy: 713-695-2111
- Texas New Mexico Power: Call 888-866-7456
- Harris County Flood Control: 713-684-4000
- Sheriff's Office: 713-221-6000
- Find your towed car in Harris County: 713-308-8580
- National Emergency Child Locator Center: 866-908-9570
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990
Locating friends, family & vehicles
Finding loved ones
- Safe and Well – Through the American Red Cross, you can register yourself as “safe and well” or search to find loved ones.
- National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS) – This FEMA service helps reunite families separated by a disaster. You can register so people can find you. Those who want to find you can register to monitor your status.
- Contact loved ones – Use this free emergency voicemail service to help you communicate with loved ones. You can create a message for those you can't reach. And people who can't reach you can leave you a message.
- Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) – This free emergency contact system can help if you or a loved one is missing, injured or has died. Register at any time. Only emergency agencies registered with NOKR can view your information, and can use it to contact your family when you can't. (NOKR)
Pet recovery and care
- Pets and animals – Plan for your pet during a disaster. You may not be able to take them to a public shelter with you, so you need to prepare for their care. You can also learn what to do for large animals.
- Helping pets – Disasters are traumatic for pets, too. Their behavior may change. They may get confused or even lost. Learn how to care for your pet or locate a missing pet after a disaster.
- Missing Pet Network – Report lost or found animals, and search the listings by state. Get advice on looking for lost pets. Even find advice specific to cats.
- Towed cars (Houston) – Enter your license plate or VIN number in this City of Houston database or call 713-308-8580.
Local and regional
- Houston Food Bank or call 832-369-9390
- Central Texas Food Bank (Austin) or call 512-282-2111
- Galveston County Food Bank or call 409-945-4232
- Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria) or call 361-578-0591
- Corpus Christi Food Bank or call 361-887-6291
- Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont) or call 409-839-8777
- Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr) or call 956-682-8101
- Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan) or call 979-779-3663
- San Antonio Food Bank or call 210-337-3663
Government food assistance
- Food stamps (SNAP) - can be used to purchase hot, ready-to-eat-food: Learn more.
- Lost WIC Cards - WIC Participants can report lost cards by calling 800.942.3678. Dial 211 to find the closest WIC Clinic and get a replacement card and benefits.
- Recovering from disaster (PDF, 4 MB) - This downloadable FEMA guide will help you return home, cope and help others. Learn about safety, health, and mental well-being after a disaster.
- Returning home - Learn what you should do before you enter your home after a disaster and what to watch out for once you enter. Also learn what you might need to track for insurance.
Check your home's safety
- Structural elements
- Utility services
- Electrical Safety Precautions
- How to choose a generator
- Mold remediation guide
Cleaning up the damage
- Disaster recovery – Find guides, videos, resource links, and even an app from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that can help you recover and rebuild a healthy home.
- Dealing with debris and damaged buildings – Learn how to safely handle different hazards from the Environmental Protection Agency. This may include structurally unsound buildings and chemical spills.
- Flood cleanup and the air in your home (PDF, 1 MB) – Learn how to properly clean up after a flood and about air quality, as well as mold hazards.
- Saving family treasures – Paper records, books, photos, film, and magnetic media, like audio, video, and computer disks.
Rebuilding stronger and safer
- Safer, stronger, protected homes, and communities – List of resources from FEMA to help home and business owners rebuild and prevent future damage.
- Building codes toolkit - Based on best practices, FEMA standards and input from field experts.
- Contractor fraud checklist
- Avoiding contractor fraud
- Prevent Illness after a natural disaster - Learn how to help prevent illness and avoid hazards after a disaster from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Food and water safety - Learn what to do during and after a power outage or flood, from the Food and Drug Administration.
- Debris and damaged buildings – Hazards to be aware of when you return to your home or business after a disaster, including unsound buildings and chemical spills.
- Eye safety for emergency response and disaster recovery
- Self-help and coping – Learn what to expect after a traumatic event and how to deal with stress. Access the PTSD Coach Online from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Coping with disaster – Learn how adults and children may react differently, techniques for disaster-related stress, and when to seek help.
- Coping with Traumatic Events – Coping techniques and information about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Tips for survivors of a traumatic event - Managing your stress – (PDF, 928 KB)
- Coping with a disaster or traumatic event – Find resources that can help you, including crisis hotlines and information for individuals, families, and schools.
- Disaster Distress Helpline – Call 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a--year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.
- Replace your vital records - Browse a list of sites where you can get everything from your Social Security card to your passport replaced.
- Emergency salvage of flood damaged family papers - How to care for papers damaged by a flood, including books, documents and photos.
- Replace U.S. Currency – U.S. Department of the Treasury. Find out how to submit a claim for damaged or mutilated notes and coins. See examples of damaged currency.
- Replace U.S. Savings Bonds – U.S. Department of the Treasury. Bonds are now only reissued or replaced in electronic form, or you can ask to have them cashed.
- Summary of key federal disaster aid programs
- FEMA Evacuee Hotel List
- Disaster Assistance FAQs
- Answers to Common FEMA Questions
- Download the FEMA App
- Information needed when applying for FEMA aid
- Social Security Number
- Address of the damaged home or apartment
- Description of the damage
- Information about insurance coverage
- Telephone number
- Mailing address
- Bank account & routing numbers for direct deposit of funds
- Apply for disaster assistance
- Recovering financially – Turn to the American Red Cross for advice on insurance claims, cash flow, bills, and debt after a disaster. Includes a list of vital documents with details on how to get them replaced.
- Disaster loans – Small Business Administration loan types include home and personal property, business, and economic injury. Questions? Call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.
- GovLoans.gov – Gateway to all types of loans through the Department of Labor.
- HOPE Coalition America – Visit the website to learn how to financially prepare for and recover from disaster. Or after a disaster, our crisis counselors can help you move forward toward financial recovery. Call 1-888-388-4673.
- Disaster Unemployment Insurance (DUA) – If you lost work because of a disaster, you may qualify. Get details on eligibility and claims from the Department of Labor.
- Map of State American Job Center websites – Learn how to file for unemployment insurance in your state and search for your local American Job Center.
- Employee benefits assistance – Answers about health coverage and retirement benefits. Submit complaints about denial of benefits or report a problem with a plan. Call 1-866-444-3272 for a benefits advisor.
- The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Claims – Get a step-by-step guide on how to file a flood claim.
- Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Survivors Section 203(h) – If your home has been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster, you may apply under this program. If approved, insured mortgages may be used to buy or rebuild a primary home. Only FHA-approved lenders may participate.
- Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) – guide for filing claims
- Answers to common questions if your car is flooded.
- Disaster relief legal information and forms
- State Bar of Texas – 1-800-504-7030 – Toll-free legal hotline that helps people find answers to basic legal questions and locate recovery resources in the wake of a disaster. The hotline is answered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese and directly connects callers with legal aid providers in their area.
- Houston Volunteer Lawyers – 1-800-504-7030 – Legal Help with the Effects of Hurricane Harvey
- Disaster Relief Legal Clinic and Hotline Calendar
- Disability Rights Texas – Supports legal rights of those with disabilities.
- Fort Bend Lawyer Care – Legal assistance to low-income Fort Bend County residents.
- Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (South, Central and West Texas) – If you need legal assistance after a disaster, call Texas RioGrande Legal Aid's Disaster Assistance Hotline at 1-866-757-1570
- Identity theft – Federal Trade Commission. Find out how to protect yourself against identity theft, especially if you've lost important documents.
- Disaster loans – The Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. Questions? Call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.
- Disaster assistance programs – The US Department of Agriculture offers a variety of programs and services to help communities, farmers, ranchers and businesses that have been hard hit by Hurricane Harvey.
- Preparedness planning for your business – Any natural or man-made disaster can affect your business. Learn five steps that can help you develop a preparedness program.
- Ready rating – Information from the American Red Cross can help you evaluate and improve your business' ability to face and recover from a disaster.
- Farmstead preparedness and recovery – Disaster preparedness and recovery techniques for farms and ranches.
- Anticompetitive conduct – Learn how to spot and report disaster-related anticompetitive conduct. This includes bid rigging, price fixing, and customer or market allocation.
- Salvage procedures – How to care for materials affected by a disaster: paper records, books, photos, film, and magnetic media, like audio, video and computer disks.
- Federal Government Additional Info
- IRS tax relief and assistance for Harvey victims
- Hurricane Harvey Rumor Control
- NRG Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Resources
- Mortgage Servicer Contact List
- Tenant and Rente's Rights
- No Down Payment Mortgage for Disaster Survivors
- Postal Service Change of Address – Call 1-800-275-8777 or visit www.usps.com
- Basic insurance guide
- Disaster assistance process overview
- Get several written bids or estimates from multiple contractors.
- Estimates should include complete description of work to be done with time and payment schedules.
- Ensure that you use reputable companies that you know and trust.
- Ask for references and confirm by calling them.
- Check the Better Business Bureau.
- Check the courthouse for criminal history and civil cases against the contractor.
- Do not begin any work without confirming that the contractor is bonded and insured.
- Get a contract in writing with details of work to be done and pricing.
- Confirm that the contractor has received proper permits from the city and or neighborhood association before work begins.
- Do not pay for the entire job upfront.
- It is against the law for contractors in disaster areas to take any money up front unless they have had a local office in your county or one county over for at least one year.
- Insist on paying the full amount until after the work is completed.
- Do not pay in cash.
- Report bad contractors to the:
- Do not respond or click on links from unsolicited/spam emails.
- Make contributions directly to known organizations.
- Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site.
- Avoid cash donations if possible.
- Don't write checks to individuals.
- Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources.
- Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.
- Report scams or fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline (Call 1-866-720-5721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Texas Attorney General's hotline (1-800-621-0508).
- Carefully read your policy to see your coverage. This includes property, auto and health and umbrella policies.
- Know the deadlines to send written notices and do not wait to the end of the time period to submit your written notice.
- Make an inventory of lost or damaged items.
- Take photos and or videos of damages before making repairs.
- Gather receipts you have for lost or damaged items.
- Prepare a list of items you want the adjuster to check.
- Be nice to your adjuster.
- Keep notes with dates, time and names when speaking to the insurance company.
- Keep all mailed correspondences from the insurance company.
- Carefully read paperwork before depositing checks.