Legal Resources For Those Impacted By Hurricane Harvey
Over the past few weeks I have been awed by both the destructive force of Hurricane Harvey and the resilience and generosity of my fellow Texans. Some areas got over 40 inches of rain as the mighty storm hovered over our state. The resulting flooding, not to mention the winds and other flooding caused by the storm surge, took lives and destroyed homes, businesses, and dreams.
The rebuilding process is now underway, and in many ways surviving this can be more difficult than weathering the storm. Below are a few free legal resources that are available to those who have been impacted by the storm.
Free Legal Hotline
The State Bar of Texas’s toll-free legal hotline 1-800-504-7030 is answered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. It connects low-income individuals affected by the disaster with local legal aid providers who can help with:
- Assistance securing government benefits as they are made available to disaster victims;
- Assistance with life, medical, and property insurance claims;
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
- Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster;
- Consumer protection issues such as price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process;
- Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and
- Counseling on landlord-tenant problems
The phone line is open 24/7, but callers will probably have to leave a message instead of getting immediate help. People who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help.
Texas Legal Answers — texaslegalanswers.org — is a free online legal advice clinic run by the American Bar Association. It allows Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey to post questions about their civil legal issues and receive answers from volunteer attorneys.
People needing help should log into the site, ask their question, then wait for an email indicating their question has been answered. At this time, there is no limit to the number of questions a person can ask.
Schedule A Free Consultation With An Attorney
Like most attorneys, I meet with potential clients for free all the time. If you think you might need an attorney to help you with your Harvey recovery, don’t hesitate to set up a meeting with an attorney to chat about your issues. A good attorney will give you an honest assessment and point you in the right direction, even if it means they refer you to another attorney or a free do-it-yourself guide.