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How To Get Help During Harvey

Nathan Bernier
The city is preparing the Convention Center for up to 2,500 evacuees.

Thousands of people have been forced from their homes due to Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on the Texas coast Friday and is now a tropical storm. Harvey made landfall again early Wednesday along the Louisiana border.

According to Gov. Greg Abbott, 32,000 people are now housed in shelters.

Below is a list of services available if you or someone you know is in need of shelter or other assistance during what FEMA has called a "landmark event."


The Texas Department of Public Safetywill replace driver's licenses or state ID cards for free for people who live in one of the counties that has been declared a disaster by the governor.

FEMA says people impacted by Harvey can get assistance online or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

People who have lost jobs or are self-employed and unable to work can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance online or by calling 1-877-8923896.

The National Storm Damage Center has tips for filing insurance claims.

Housing Assistance

Austin has opened the following shelters for evacuees:

  • Delco Center, 4601 Pecan Brook Dr.
  • Toney Burger Activity Center, 3200 Jones Road
  • LBJ/LASA High School, 7309 Lazy Creek Dr.

The city also plans to open the Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez, by the end of the day Wednesday. 
Other shelters in the Austin area include:

  • In La Grange at Second Baptist Church, 1010 N. Von Minden St.
  • In Luling at the Luling Civic Center, 333 East Austin St.

Airbnb is providing free temporary housing to affected residents. Call: 1-855-424-7262 or visit the website.

HomeAway is offering free and discounted rental homes between now and Oct. 1. For more information, visit the website.

Camping is free for evacuees at Texas state parks. Check availability online.

Legal Assistance

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has a hotline for low-income residents who need legal assistance with disaster-related questions. Call 1-866-757-1570.

The State Bar of Texas’ legal hotline can help people with basic legal questions and connect them with local legal aid providers. Call 800-504-7030.

Medical Care

The Austin Emergency Center is providing free care to evacuees through Sept 8. You must show a photo ID with an address from an affected ZIP code. Locations:

  • Far West, 3563 Far West Blvd., Suite 110. 512-481-2321
  • South Lamar, 4015 South Lamar Blvd. 512-774-5780
  • Anderson Mill, 13435 Highway 183 North, Suite 311. 512-614-1200.


The YWCA of Greater Austin is offering free support groups and crisis counseling. Call 512-326-1222.

Optum, a division of UnitedHealth, has a free 24-hour crisis line staffed by mental health specialists. Call 866-342-6892.


The Austin Independent School District is simplifying its enrollment process for Harvey evacuees. Call the district's main line at 512-414-1700. 

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