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Emergency Response

Do you or a loved one need help after an emergency situation?

The Administration for Community Living awards grants to states and organizations for a variety of programs, including many that provide services and supports to older adults and people with disabilities. Our grantees are working closely with disaster response efforts to assess needs and connect people to help. However, ACL programs do not provide assistance directly to individuals.

The resources below can connect you to the services available in your area to help meet your specific needs. We will add to this list when additional information is available. Please do not email ACL to apply for individual assistance. We can only refer you to the resources below, and we don't want you to lose valuable time that could be spent applying for help in the right place. Applications must made directly to the programs providing assistance.

ACL's Eldercare Locator and Disability Information and Assistance Line were created to connect older adults and people with disabililities to a variety of services and supports,.

  • The Eldercare Locator is available online around the clock. The service also can be reached by telephone at 1-800-677-1116, or by chat via the website, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.
  • DIAL can be reached by phone at 888-677-1199 or via chat Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern). DIAL also can be reached via email at

The FEMA Disaster Assistance website will connect you to the FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers closest to your address. You also can fill out an online tool to be connected to more resources and/or apply for assistance online.  

The FEMA Helpline can answer questions about the help offered by FEMA and how to apply for assistance. Call 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, 7 days a week:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • 711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362

FEMA also has created a series of accessible videos that explain available assistance in a question-and-answer format. These are narrated verbally and include video of a person providing the same information using American Sign Language. A transcript can be found on the page below each video. 

The SAMHSA Distress Helpline provides 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. To connect with a trained crisis counselor:

  • Call 1-800-985-5990  (press "2" for Spanish)
  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746

Spanish Speakers:

  • Call 1-800-985-5990 and press "2"
  • From the U.S., text Hablanos to 66746

Finding Relief Following a Disaster

The National Council on Aging has compiled a list of the types of benefits available in an area that has been declared a disaster. Available assistance may include housing or temporary shelter, nutrition, health care, unemployment support, and more.

Looking for loved ones?

The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available (in English and Spanish) and open to the public.  Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English. To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative, please contact 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).

Practical tips for staying safe and healthy after an emergency

HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has put together great pages with links to information from across HHS. A few highlights include:

The site also includes Resources for Emergency Response Professionals.

Avoiding Fraud 

Unfortunately, there are always people who try to take advantage of others in the aftermath of disasters. Be on alert for phony requests for donations, identity theft, and email phishing scams. Other resources that can help: 


Last modified on 07/17/2023

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