Hurricane Harvey Disability Community Update

Sent on behalf of City of Houston the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities 


This evening Mayor Turner instituted a a mandatory citywide curfew has been implemented, which will be in effect from 12 a.m. (midnight) until 5 a.m. Persons involved in flood relief efforts, flood relief volunteers, individuals seeking shelters, first responders, and persons going to and from work (late shift workers) are exempt from the curfew.

Some positive news: a group of volunteer American Sign Language interpreters and deaf and hard of hearing advocates have organized together to coordinate ASL resources and communication access assistance across shelters. Additionally, a group of autism and developmental disabilities serving organizations have come together to coordinate ways to assist families shelter in place and evacuate. I am so proud of the work happening in our community and how we are working together to support one another. Within the body of this email, you will see another example of the community working together to support other members of the disability community.

Within this update, you will find information about shelters, American Sign Language Materials, durable medical equipment donations, METRO, and FEMA assistance guidance. Please share this update widely.


Tonight, Baker Ripley opened a shelter at NRG Park for people who were forced out of their homes as a result of the flooding caused by Harvey. The Mayor also opened the Toyota Center as a shelter to manage the overflow from the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center. Individuals seeking shelter at the Toyota Center will need to get processed at the GRB before going to the Toyota Center.


DeafLink has produced an short ASL video with sheltering and emergency contact information.


On Wednesday, August 29, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. we will be welcoming donations for specific items to support our disability community affected by the recent floods. Items can be delivered to West Gray Multipurpose Center located at 1475 West Gray Street, Houston, TX 77019.

Please limit donations to these specific items. All other supplies will need to be turned away.

– wheelchairs

– wheelchair cushions

– walkers

– canes

– catheters

– diapers (children and adult)

– gloves

– bed liners

This effort is in collaboration with United Spinal Association of Houston 501(c)3 and other local nonprofits including Rehabilitation Services Volunteer Project (RSVP) and Ms. Wheelchair Texas.

Questions: Contact Rafferty Laredo, Executive Director for United Spinal Association of Houston at or 832.443.7233.



While standard METRO service is still not running, METROLift is now available for customers in need of medically necessary transportation only.  The service is limited to patrons who need trips to receive dialysis and other life sustaining medical care.  Due to uncertain road conditions, it is still possible METROLift will not be able to reach certain areas to pick up patrons.  Requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

METROLift trips should be scheduled one day in advance in the normal manner:   Onlineor by calling 713-225-6716. Due to high call demand, phone delays are possible, and patience is appreciated. Staff is available 24/7 in the METROLift Dispatch Center at (713) 225-0410 to answer any questions.


At this point in our storm response and recovery, there are many people who might qualify for FEMA assistance. This could be because the person was displaced from their home, their home was damaged or for other disaster-related reasons (small business damage, etc.) You do not need to be a homeowner to qualify for FEMA Assistance. Survivors have 60-days from the date of a declaration for Individual Assistance to apply for assistance.


Visit to apply for assistance online.  If you experience difficulty applying online, you may also call (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585 to apply during standard hours of operation (7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time), 7 days a week.  You can also check your application status at  Please note that if you are eligible for an Individual Assistance grant you are not required to pay back the grant to FEMA. There is no income threshold for Individual Assistance grants, but you may be referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a low interest disaster loan to assist in your recovery.  These low interest disaster loans for homeowners and businesses from the SBA must be repaid.

*******Be sure to tell them to show on the form that they have a disability and to show what kind of disability that is. They should show this on line 20 of the form. This must be done when the application is first made. If they try to put this in later, there’s a strong chance their disability status won’t be properly flagged and they may not get the kind of help they truly need.*******