TRLA Helps Texans Prepare for Hurricane Season

TRLA’s Linley Boone-Almaguer provides disaster preparedness training to members of the ARISE community group.

TRLA’s Linley Boone-Almaguer provides disaster preparedness training to members of the ARISE community group.

In preparation for the start of the 2019 hurricane season, 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 preempt 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 Sept. 4, and Sept. 11 in Brownsville. However, more sessions will be scheduled during the coming months as organizations request them. Groups interested in scheduling sessions may contact TRLA at 361-888-0282 or 1-800-420-1501.

“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’s 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 that need to be 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’re 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.” 

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