Resources for Texans

Resources for Texans

Depending on the size of the disaster, additional assistance may be made available from government and/or nonprofit, volunteer and faith-based organizations. Although disaster assistance programs are not designed to return you to pre-disaster condition, they may help you begin the recovery process.

On this page, you will find a list of resources that may become available in your community after a disaster for which you and your family may qualify.

Homeowners, renters, and business owners should report disaster damages through the Individual Assistance – State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT)


In the event of a disaster, Texas citizens should continue to monitor local media and news outlets for weather updates, emergency notifications and follow guidance from local officials.


For information on road closures, please visit or by phone at (800) 452-9292. Travel planning and other tips are available at Be Safe. Drive Smart.

Residents can contact 2-1-1 Texas, the state’s free, anonymous social service helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1 or 877-541-7905 or visit for community resources including food, health, housing and more.


Save this number, 43362, in your phone today so you’ll be able to find a safe space to shelter during a disaster. This new feature uses Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities to provide shelter addresses within 200 miles of your ZIP code. Information on different types of shelters and sheltering can be found at Shelter | Additional ways to find shelter can be found at or

Standard texting rates with the user’s carrier may apply, but there is no additional fee to use this service. In phones with a standard map feature, users will be able to click on the shelter address inside the text message and view directions. The text can be easily shared with friends and family so they know where the user is going or where they themselves can take shelter.

ERCOT Grid Information - - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages scheduling on an electric grid carrying 90 percent of Texas' load. This link contains data about the grid and key measurements of its operation.

Free Legal Resources for the Public

Disaster Relief Legal Resources - The State Bar of Texas toll-free legal hotline — 800-504-7030 — connects 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 matters such as price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process. The hotline is answered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Callers can leave a message any time. People who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who can provide free, limited legal help.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Talk with a professional who can help you cope with emotional distress from the storm. Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746


Insurance is the first resource in recovering from a disaster. Contact your insurance agent or company representative to report your losses, review your coverage, and answer any questions. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) also provides disaster-related insurance information and preparedness information on their website.  For more details, visit:

Wind Insurance: Texas Windstorm Insurance (TWIA) ( was established by the Texas Legislature in 1971 in response to regional market conditions following Hurricane Celia in August 1970.  The purpose is to provide windstorm and hail insurance on the Texas seacoast.  TWIA is governed by Chapter 2210 of the Insurance Code.

Flood Insurance: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) ( aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.

Other Types of Catastrophic Insurance: Catastrophic insurance protects businesses and residences against natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and against human-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks. These low-probability, high-cost events are generally excluded from standard hazard insurance policies, which makes catastrophic insurance necessary. The coverage homeowners should purchase must take into consideration the threats and hazards that exist within their region.

FloodSmart | The National Flood Insurance Program

Historical Flood Risk and Costs |

Individual Assistance Program

Individual Assistance Program (IA) is FEMA’s direct assistance through grants to supplement disaster damages not covered by insurance. Contingent on an Emergency or Disaster Declaration, IA is financial assistance and direct services for survivors who are uninsured and underinsured for necessary expenses and serious needs that help eligible residents get back on their feet towards recovery. 

Both declaration types authorize federal disaster assistance, however the amount of assistance differs for each. See how a disaster gets declared.

Mass Care/Emergency Assistance Program is always made available and comprises of services including evacuation, sheltering, feeding and distribution of emergency supplies; support for individuals with access and functional needs; reunification; support for household and service pets; Blue Roof and Transitional Sheltering Programs.

is intended to meet basic needs and supplement existing recovery efforts, rather than compensate for all loses incurred during a Disaster Declaration. It comprises of two types of support - Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance.

  • Housing Assistance provides both Financial and Direct services. Applicants can receive more than one type or combination of both financial and direct assistance.
  • Other Needs Assistance provides two categories of low-interest loans either dependent or non-dependent on applicant’s ability to secure a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

Disaster Case Management provides a single point of contact for the survivor and to facilitate access to a broad range of resources that augments existing state case management capabilities.

Crisis Counseling Program provides community based or one-on-one services to assess strength and coping skills and restore or improve functions through psycho educational focus.

Disaster Legal Services provides a hotline and in-person free legal help for low-income individuals who are unable to secure benefits or make claims arising from a major disaster.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides individuals who are ineligible for regular unemployment insurance who were previously employed or self-employed and rendered jobless, or whose employment was interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster. To register with FEMA, go online to Persons with a smartphone can download the FEMA app at and register. Registration by telephone also is available by calling 800-621-3362. For TTY call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) also can call 800-621-3362.

Federal Disaster Assistance

In the event of a federally declared disaster, residents of impacted counties can register for individual assistance by visiting or calling 1-800-621-3362. You can also email FEMA from the Disaster Assistance webform.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Center

A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is a readily accessible facility or mobile office where applicants may visit for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance programs.

There are two ways to find a DRC near you:

1.    Use the DRC Locator to find addresses and DRC details. Find info like the hours of operation, services offered, and driving directions.

Text DRC and a Zip Code to 43362.Example: DRC 01234. Using this option doesn’t add you to any messaging service. It’s just like doing a search on the Web. (Standard text rates may apply.)

Rural Development Disaster Assistance

Rural Development Disaster Assistance provides home repair assistance not covered by insurance and if your income qualifies you may be able to obtain a loan from USDA. Contact a USDA-RD Customer Service Representative at1-800-414-1226 or 1-800-438-1832 (TDD/TTY Hearing Impaired Only). USDA-RDCustomer Service is available from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Central Time, Monday through Friday.


In the true spirit of Texans helping Texans, our neighbors and ordinary citizens, often arrive on-site at a disaster ready to assist. Yet because they are not associated with the existing emergency management response system, their offers of help are often underutilized and even problematic to established, organized and trained response and recovery efforts. Volunteers bring hope and much needed assistance to devastated communities, however, it’s crucial that volunteers engage as safely and efficiently as possible to best serve our communities and disaster survivors.

Become Affiliated

Volunteer with an affiliated organization!  Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) is a coalition of nonprofit organizations that respond to disasters as part of their overall mission.  They are a statewide body that facilitates cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration of member organizations in all phases of disaster and to maximize member impact. Texas VOAD has a wide variety of partner and associate members able to serve disaster impacted communities. There are many organizations and faith-based groups, each with a specific mission and ability to respond.

  • Disaster Clean Up - Muck & Gut
  • Mold Remediation
  • Case Management
  • Volunteer Coordination or Supervision
  • Donation and Warehouse Management
  • Repair and Rebuild
  • Emotional and Spiritual Care
  • Feeding
  • Sheltering
  • Technology Support
  • Search and Rescue
  • EOC Support
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Data Collection
  • Animal Services
  • Damage Assessments
  • Debris Removal
  • Chain saw teams
  • Drone/UAV Operation
  • Disaster Child Care
  • Supplies - Equipment (i.e. clean up kits)
  • And more!

To learn more about Texas VOAD, their member organizations and how to get involved, visit

Volunteer TX, brought to you by OneStar Foundation, is a digital hub for volunteerism as big as the state of Texas! This website pulls volunteer opportunities from local volunteer connector organizations, Idealist.Org, AARP, Feeding America, Points of Light, and more, to provide the most comprehensive database of volunteer opportunities in the state, and to connect you to projects and organizations that inspire you to serve.

The Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry is maintained by the Department of State Health Services. This system is an initiative to pre-register, manage, and mobilize clinical and non-clinical volunteers to help in responding to all types of disasters. The volunteer management system is part of a nation-wide effort to make sure that volunteer professionals can be quickly identified and their credentials checked so that they can be properly utilized in response to a public health emergency or disaster. Visit for more information.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during a disaster situation.

Search for a program, register your group, and stay connected in your neighborhood! Register, join or login   Find your local CERT

In Federally declared disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can reimburse local and state governments for the cost of disaster recovery through a cost-share agreement.

Volunteer hours help communities recover in two ways:  

1) Volunteer work is essential to helping the community respond and recover physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

2) Volunteer hours have a dollar amount attached to them by the Federal government to aid communities in recovering the cost of relief efforts.

Volunteer hours must be documented in an auditable way in order for hours to count towards the cost-share. Tracking volunteer hours is simple. You will need to document:

  • Volunteer’s Name - first and last
  • Location of Volunteer Work – the specific address of the service site
  • Hours Worked – a sign-in time and a sign-out time
  • Type of Work – a brief description, i.e.:
    • “Donations Management” for loading, unloading and sorting donations
    • “Community Feeding” for packaging, cooking, serving, or distributing food to residents or volunteers

It is also beneficial to note if the volunteer used any equipment, since some types of equipment, such as vehicles and miles driven, also have reimbursable dollar amounts attached.


Knowing what is needed, where it is needed, and getting it there at the right time is the key.  Critical needs change rapidly.  

Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible and most effective method of donating. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase goods or services through businesses local to the disaster, which supports economic recovery.

Before collecting disaster donations, confirm the need with the local office of emergency management and remember:

  • Not everything is needed.  
  • Used clothing is never needed.
  • Donations (and volunteers) will be needed for days, months and even years following a disaster.

Long Term Recovery Groups

A Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is a collaborative network of local individuals, businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, philanthropic funders, and other recovery partners who work together to provide the money, volunteers and materials needed to address unmet disaster survivor needs.

LTRGs are as varied in their structure as are the communities in which they work. The personality and operations of each group is unique and reflects local needs, available resources, leadership style, and support for the whole community. No matter how a group is structured or what it calls itself, the goal is the same: to unite recovery resources with community needs in order to ensure that the most vulnerable in the community recover from disaster.

Contact for more information on long term recovery groups.

Small Business Administration

Small Business Administration (SBA) offers disaster assistance in the form of low interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster. You must be in an SBA declared disaster area to be eligible for SBA disaster assistance. You can check disaster declarations to locate disaster areas by state and territory.