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 was created to connect older adults and their caregivers to a variety of services and supports, but the service also has similar information for people with disabilities. 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.
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.
- FEMA Accessible - FAQ Federal Disaster Assistance - Part One
- FEMA Accessible - FAQ Federal Disaster Assistance - Part Two
- FEMA Accessible - FAQ Federal Disaster Assistance - Part Three
- FEMA Accessible - FAQ Federal Disaster Assistance - Part Four
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
- 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:
- How to protect food and water during storms
- Food safety tips for people returning home after a hurricane
- Safe use of drugs after a natural disaster
- Coping and helping others cope with a hurricane
- Cleaning up your home
- General safety tips
The site also includes Resources for Emergency Response Professionals.
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:
- US Department of Justice, how to report fraud and identity theft
- Federal Trade Commission, phone scams and what to do, ten things you can do to avoid fraud, email phishing, and identity theft
- Better Business Bureau, find trusted contact information for many charities
- The Department of Homeland Security has advice for people who would like to donate funds to help people recovering from emergencies