|Putting a life back together after Hurricane Harvey||Putting a life back together after Hurricane Harvey||Bryan Pope||Pope||2017-09-21T05:00:00Z||Housing|
|About two weeks ago, I met a couple whose house in Cypress took in six inches of water in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. A cleanup crew I was with had carried a mountain of soured carpeting to the curb, along with a dozen or so pieces of furniture that were already beginning to warp from the water damage.|
It was as muggy inside the house as it was outside, and the air smelled faintly of mold and mildew. The neighborhood was well established with green lawns and lots of tall trees. Except for the growing piles of damp trash outside almost every house, it was a lovely neighborhood.
The homeowners we were helping were obviously tired and frustrated (this was the third flood their house had survived, the second being only last year). The husband was undergoing cancer treatments, adding to their already high level of stress and fatigue. But they were safe, and so were their two grown children and three small dogs.
Having been through this recently, they knew to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) right away and get that process started. They'd already talked to a contractor about getting the walls dried out and repaired. It wouldn't be too long before their ruined furniture would be replaced.
All things considered, they felt lucky.
For many folks, though, this was their first first-hand experience with a natural disaster. They may not know how to file insurance claims or apply for disaster relief. They've probably heard of FEMA, but they may be unaware of the range of services that are provided at one of FEMA's disaster recovery centers. If they need basic legal advice about lost legal documents or if they need to report price-gouging, do they know there's a free hotline available through the State Bar of Texas?
There's a huge tangle of issues that one has to work through following a disaster of this magnitude. There are countless services out there that can help, but you have to know where to find them. The Real Estate Center has a new publication that can help. It's called the Hurricane Harvey Disaster Resources Guide
, and you can download it from our website
Our staff research attorney, Rusty Adams, has compiled phone numbers and web addresses for dozens of organizations that can assist with housing, food, replacement of certain legal documents, crisis counseling, tax relief, and more. He also provides tips that may save you time and headaches when you go to file insurance claims.