Help is available to you after a disaster, often immediately. Always check for resources specific to your state, territory, or area in addition to checking the options provided below.
Hotlines and online resources are available for finding free legal help, getting crisis counseling, learning how to assist people with special needs, and more.
To find free legal help after a disaster, call 888-743-5749. This national hotline — created by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division — can connect you to legal assistance in every state and U.S. territory as relief efforts are implemented. That includes needs for assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To find the ABA hotlines specific to your state, check the listings that are continually updated at ABA’s Disaster Legal Hotlines. These hotlines are created after a disaster is officially declared for your area.
Autism Speaks staffs a natural disaster response team for people with autism and their families. Contact them by at 1-888-AUTISM2 (1-888-288-4762), at 1-888-772-9050 for assistance in Spanish, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Access resources that can help people with disabilities or access and functional needs to learn how to prepare for disasters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) opens up Disaster Recovery Centers in an area after the federal government declares a disaster there. These centers provide help to disaster survivors, including help applying for federal aid.
FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are accessible facilities and mobile offices you can visit to learn more about FEMA and other disaster assistance programs. You may also visit to ask questions about your case. DRCs are set up in convenient areas after a disaster to make them easier to find.
A DRC may be able to help you:
To find a Disaster Recovery Center near you, use the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s DRC locator or text “DRC” and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to locate a Disaster Recovery Center in your area.
When you know a potential disaster is approaching, it is best to start identifying the location of shelters before the disaster hits. The American Red Cross and your state or local emergency management agencies should be able to tell you where they are.
Local news channels can be a good source for finding out which shelters are open and whether any of them are accepting pets or providing other special services. For example, some shelters may be specially prepared to accommodate older evacuees or individuals with disabilities.
Explore resources from the American Red Cross on how to stay safe and recover from a disaster.
Find the most relevant information by searching your location, including: Active and past disaster declarations; helpful resources specific to your state or territory, such as contact information for your local emergency management offices; and latest news releases, fact sheets, and other communications around disasters and emergencies in your location.