Hurricane Harvey Victims Can Now Get Free Legal Counseling
Last August 2017, Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in Texas causing massive floods in most residential areas and commercial establishments. The entire city got submerged with the flood for several days that displaced more than 30,000 Texans from their home while the authorities rescued around 17,000 people who got trapped inside homes and workspaces.
The hurricane caused major damages all around the areas that will take years for the Texans to recover from. In fact, more than a half of Harvey victims are still in need of assistance in order to recover from the tragedy. One of the main things they are desperately needing is legal counseling in order to properly prepare their legal paperwork. But before we get into that, let us first reminisce the catastrophic tragedy that happened lees than a year ago.
A few days after the Hurricane, the city experienced a shortage of food, water, clothing, and medical supplies. Some evacuees had to go back home to replenish their supplies, while those who lost their roof had to resort to looting. The looting incidents prompted Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to impose a curfew from 12 am to 5 am to prevent it from recurring.
Last August 29, 2017, President Trump and First Lady Melania visited the city to conduct an aerial inspection around the metropolitan area. President Trump then filed a request to the Congress to approve the $5.95 billion federal funding to help rebuild the affected areas.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the National Guard to lead the search and rescue operations off to Houston. He also deployed the National Guards from other states who offered their assistance to help with relief operations. The Federal School District in Houston, Texas, also instructed all the campuses and state universities to offer free lunch to student victims for the school year 2017-2018.
The Federal Department of Education also lifted the paperwork requirements for the students to get admitted to schools easily. They also gave the loan borrowers more time and flexibility to manage their payments.
Texas Economy Loss
The state of Texas estimated an astounding $108 billion economic loss from combined damage residential and commercial properties. The giant insurance company Aon Benfield also recorded around $100 billion insurance claims from Harvey victims. Last September 3, the Texas governor also stated that Houston lost around $180 billion revenue from its store retailers and restaurant businesses due to Hurricane Harvey. The revenue loss was a huge blow not only to the state of Texas but the country as well considering the fact Houston controls around 4% of the United State’s spending power.
Receiving Donations and Assistance from Various Organizations
The good news though is that the Harvey Victims are not alone in this dark moment. Both the government and non-government organizations raised funds to help Harvey victims recover from the tragedy. The famous NBA basketball team Houston Rockets also pledged $4 million to provide relief operations to the victims.
Hollywood celebrities like Sandra Bullock provided the single largest donation consisting of $1 million. Leonardo DiCaprio, on the other hand, donated $1 million to the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund. The Operation BBQ also provided relief to the victims by providing their meals and clothing.
Free Legal Counseling Services
While most donors pledged to provide short-term and immediate care to the victims, some organizations opt to provide long-term relief to Harvey victims. The Avenue Housing Recovery Center, for example, partnered with several housing groups to rebuild homes for Hurricane Harvey victims. They seek to build their homes back either through renovation or by providing relocation houses. The center also offers services like housing loan assistance, counseling, and free education to the victims.
Last, but not the least, the South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas offered legal counseling to Harvey victims for free. The law students and licensed attorneys are currently offering the following legal services:
– Wage disputes for unpaid and underpaid worker
– FEMA issues
– Property issues and rights (like obtaining lost titles to rebuild their homes)
The city funded the legal counseling to continue providing relief operations until it can get back on its feet once again.
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