Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Helps Texans Prepare for Hurricane Season

May 2, 2019

Tracy Figueroa, Disaster Assistance Group Coordinator, TRLA, 361-888-0282; tfigueroa@trla.org
Nancy Nusser, Press Officer, TRLA, 512-374-2764 or 410-934-9588; nnusser@trla.org

In preparation for the start of the 2019 hurricane season, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has conducted nearly a dozen disaster-preparedness sessions for community members in the flood-prone Coastal Bend, Golden Crescent and Rio Grande Valley regions. The sessions – which help people head off or prepare for legal problems that arise after disasters - are funded by a community education grant from the Texas Bar Foundation and will continue through September.

The next scheduled sessions are May 9, Sept. 4, and Sept. 11 (Please see schedule below for more details.) However, more sessions will be scheduled as organizations request them. Groups interested in scheduling sessions may contact TRLA. 

“There are so many legal issues that come up after a disaster,” said Tracy Figueroa, coordinator for TRLA’s Disaster Assistance Group. “For example, some government and privately funded programs require you to have title to your home in order to get home repair assistance after a disaster. Many Hurricane Harvey survivors are struggling to address these legal issues now, and it is disrupting their ability to recover from the disaster. It’s vital that people think about these aspects of disaster preparedness, and take steps now to improve their position.”

Along with clearing title, the sessions cover tips on how to legally prepare for a disaster before it happens, including the documents and evidence you need to have ready and protected; post-disaster insurance issues, renters’ rights and obligations, and mobile home issues.

Since March, TRLA has held disaster preparedness sessions in the Hidalgo County towns of Alamo, Alton, Las Milpas, Penitas, and San Juan. In the Coastal Bend, TRLA has held sessions in Corpus Christi. In the Golden Crescent, TRLA has held sessions in Victoria and Bloomington. TRLA has worked with community organizations and disaster aid groups, including Equal Voice Network, La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), Proyecto Azteca, ARISE, the Red Cross, the Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC), Proyecto Juan Diego, BUCKNER,  and Victoria Long Term Recovery Group.

“We are grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for providing the funding to help make this happen.” Figueroa said. “The ongoing legal assistance that TRLA attorneys are providing to disaster survivors has reinforced the importance of this effort.” 

Photo: TRLA attorney Linley Boone-Almaguer presents “What Lawyers Want you to Know about Disaster Preparedness” to members of the ARISE community organization, who are gathered at the Community Building in Alamo (1429 S Tower Rd.)

Upcoming sessions:

  • 5/9/2019, 1-2 pm: “What Lawyers Want You To Know About Disaster Preparedness And Renters Rights and Obligations in a Disaster” (Spanish); Family Hope Center in Penitas - 39614 Mile 7 Rd. Ste. 3 Penitas, TX 78576

  • 9/4/2019, 9-10:30 am; “What Lawyers Want You To Know About Disaster Preparedness and Renters Rights and Obligations in a Disaster” (Spanish); Proyecto Juan Diego Programa de Familia (IFP) 3910 Paredes Line, Brownsville TX 78526

  • 9/11/2019, 9-10:30 am; “Clearing Title To Homes: Real Estate, Probate, Mobile Home Issues” (Spanish)Proyecto Juan Diego Programa de Familia (IFP) 3910 Paredes Line, Brownsville, TX 78526

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to about 23,000 low-income Texans in 68 counties. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and access to justice for low-income Texans by providing high-quality legal assistance and related educational services.



nancy nusser