Help for Texas due to Hurricane Harvey
In an effort to offer assistance to our collegues at Texas Health and Human Services, we wanted to send this communication out to our members to let you know how you can help by making a donation to any of the below links that will assist with the delivery of durable medical equipment and assistive technology to people in need in Houston’s shelters as incident/disaster response teams are overwhelmed with the crisis needs.
Please consider making a donation to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Donations can be made to the Texas ARC at: https://www.thearcoftexas.org/harvey/#Plan-Ahead
The ARC US at: https://www.thearc.org/donatedisasterrelief
Donations can also be made to Portlight which is an organization that was founded in 1997 to facilitate a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. http://www.portlight.org/
You can also help by identifying AT and DME that can be donated, and get it ready to be shipped when Houston is ready to receive it! Donated items must be in complete working order, which means used equipment must be repaired and sanitized, and having working batteries where appropriate. Wheelchairs must have intact cushions (not cracked), seat belts, and anti-tippers. Confirm that equipment has not been recalled (here’s a list to check for recalls). Follow the indicators of quality for AT Reuse (here’s a link for indicators of quality) from the Pass It On Center, the national technical assistance center for AT reuse. You may want to contact your state’s AT Act program for assistance and collaboration in this regard https://www.at3center.net/stateprogram These steps will help ensure that the volunteers on the ground in affected areas don’t need to sort through disastrous donations, but can quickly get good-quality equipment to the people who need it.
Hurricane Harvey Information
Many Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit payments are scheduled for Friday, September 1. The following information covers the various delivery methods for these payments in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Source: Social Security Administration
Things to keep in mind…….
Hurricane Harvey: Resources for an Inclusive Response
Hurricane Harvey has been devastating for many communities in Texas and Louisiana, impacting people of all ages and abilities. As emergency response rescue efforts continue and recovery efforts begin, understanding and accommodating the unique circumstances faced by older adults and people with disabilities will be critical.
And HHS’ Office of Civil Rights has identified practices and resources for emergency responders and officials to help ensue individuals have equal access to emergency services that include:
- Employing qualified interpreter services to assist individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing during response and recovery activities
- Making emergency messaging available in languages prevalent in the area and in multiple formats, such as audio, large print, and captioning and ensuring that websites providing disaster-related information are accessible
- Making use of multiple outlets and resources for messaging to reach individuals with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency, and members of diverse faith communities.
- Considering the needs of individuals with mobility impairments and individuals with assistive devices or durable medical equipment in providing transportation for evacuation
- Identifying and publicizing accessible sheltering facilities that include accessible features, such as bathing, toileting, and eating facilities and bedding
- Avoiding separating people from their sources of support, such as service animals, durable medical equipment, caregivers, medication and supplies
- Stocking shelters with items that will help people to maintain independence such as hearing aid batteries, canes, and walkers
Source: Administration for Community Living
Here is information on a disaster resource center, tips for avoiding fraud, and resources for individuals with disabilities, access and functional needs:
- National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center: The National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), the American Bar Association, Pro Bono Net, Lone Star Legal Aid, the Texas Legal Services Center, and the Legal Services Corporation have partnered to create an online disaster resource center. The center offers information for individuals who need legal help, legal aid professionals assisting in disaster relief, and resources to connect pro bono attorney volunteers who want to help.
- Avoiding Fraud: Older adults can be targets for fraud, and unfortunately, during times of crisis, potential for fraud and identity theft can increase. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is encouraging older adults to be alert for phony requests for post-disaster donations and identify theft. Here are some fraud protection resources ACL recently shared:
- US Department of Justice, how to report fraud and identity theft
- Federal Trade Commission, phone scams and what to do, 10 things you can do to avoid fraud, email phishing, and identity theft
- Better Business Bureau, finding trusted contact information for charities
- Department of Homeland Security, information on helping disaster survivors
Resources for People with Disabilities, Access & Functional Needs: The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Office of Disability and Integration Coordination and Office of External Affairs created and are sharing resources in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese.