Harvey Recovery Tips from Our Friends at The Buskop Law Group

Less than two weeks Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston and the surrounding Gulf Coast region. Along with the immediate rescue efforts, people began and continue sharing information to help others recover from the storm.  Our friends at The Buskop Law Group sent us an email we believe is well worth passing along. It contains tips that may be helpful, especially to anyone filing with FEMA.

From: The Buskop Law Group
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 11:51 AM
To: Adcetera
Subject: Harvey Tips from The Buskop Law Group

Greetings,

Hurricane Harvey has wrecked a historic amount of damage, but this is Texas and we are already looking to move forward. We apologize for the length of this email, but we found many pieces of information very helpful, and wanted to pass these tools and resources along. There are 3 major sections to this email.

  1. General Information regarding Harvey
  2. What do to make your insurance/FEMA claim as smooth as possible
  3. Tips on moving, and places with current availability

Thanks to our client and friend with Pack N’ Send (www.pack-n-send.com) for the major information from two sections.

ONE – General Information Regarding Harvey

HURRICANE HARVEY LIFE SAVING INFORMATION

Texas Division of Emergency Management has asked for help spreading the word about how to track friends and family who are Hurricane Harvey evacuees. The Red Cross has a system, but evacuees must register once safe by going to safeandwell.org and list themselves as "Safe and Well". If you use Twitter or Facebook, please SHARE this website and encourage those who follow you to also share/retweet to get the word out.

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UBER RIDES

To support disaster recovery efforts, Uber is donating $300,000 of rides, food, and relief to the families and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, and our teams on the ground are working with local officials to understand where these services can be most helpful.

To support displaced families throughout Texas, Uber is donating free rides to or from shelters (up to $50 each) in multiple cities. No action is required to receive a free ride to or from these locations-the full discount will automatically be applied and reflected in the app when you request UberX.

Uber is donating rides and supplies to those in need:

https://www.uber.com/blog/texas/hurricane-harvey-relief-efforts/

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HARRIS COUNTY DONATION & VOLUNTEER HOTLINES: 

Donations: 1-800-924-5985
Volunteers: 281-656-1533 

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MORE INFORMATION

The Health and Human Services Commission is currently working around the clock in recovery efforts to assist those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. For disaster victims looking for additional information on any Health and Human need they can call 2-1-1. Operators are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help Texans.

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Please note that community members may begin registering for assistance at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/. You may also wish to reference the OOG Hurricane Center for disaster-related information and links.  Additionally, the FEMA Fact Sheet is available here.

SOLID WASTE PICKUP

DISASTER STORM DEBRIS - FLOOD AND WIND:

Disaster Debris from Hurricane Harvey will be collected on an ongoing basis until all material has been collected. Please place your debris at the curb as soon as possible. It is essential the piles be accessible by the collection crews therefore please do not park on the street blocking piles, and make sure the material is clear of tree branches, fire hydrants, utility lines. Please divide debris into the following categories.

  • Vegetative Debris - leaves (do not put in bags), logs, plants, tree branches.
  • Construction & Demolition Debris - building materials, carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, mattresses and plumbing.
  • Appliances & White Goods - air conditioners, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and water heaters.
  • Electronics - computers, radios, stereos, televisions, other devices with a cord.
  • Household Hazardous Waste - cleaning supplies, batteries, lawn chemical, oils, oil-based paints, stains and pesticides

GARBAGE COLLECTION: 

  • Thursday, August 31, 2017 - Thursday's Garbage collection will begin with normal schedule.
  • Friday, September 1, 2017 - Friday's Garbage collection will be collected.
  • Monday, September 4, 2017 - No collection in observance of Labor Day.
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - Monday's Garbage will be collected.
  • Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - Tuesday's Garbage will be collected.
  • Thursday, September 7, 2017 - Normal garbage schedule resumes for all collection days.

YARD WASTE COLLECTION: Yard waste collection will be suspended until further notice due to the need of extra personnel for debris collection for disaster recovery.

JUNK WASTE AND TREE WASTE COLLECTION: Normally scheduled Junk and Tree Waste collections will be suspended until further notice as all related personnel will be assigned to disaster debris collections.

RECYCLING COLLECTION: Curbside single stream recycling collection will be suspended until further notice. All additional personnel will be assigned to debris collection for disaster recovery.

TWO – Making Your Insurance/FEMA Claim as Smooth as Possible

NO FLOOD INSURANCE? SOME RESOURCES: 

  1. Register with FEMA (https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey). Get in line now. Don't wait until the storm passes.
  2. File for the Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program (https://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/4418), and file your Publication 547 form (https://www.irs.gov/publications/p547/) with the IRS. Both of these programs allow for residents to write off their losses via taxes, and even refile your most recent taxes, thus potentially getting an unexpected refund, something that could go a long way in recovery.
  3. Apply for the Disaster Legal Services Program (https://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/431). Through this program, the government provides legal services to lower-income individuals. This can help when seeking insurance claims, dealing with contractors and home repairs, etc. A huge benefit.
  4. Apply for Rebuild Houston Together (http://www.rebuildinghouston.org/homeowners.htm), a group that helps senior citizens rebuild their homes.
  5. See if you belong to a group that is a member of the Tool Bank (http://www.houstontoolbank.org/borrow…/first-time-borrowers/), a group that brings much needed tools to a disaster area. Note you must be a part of one of their member orgs, such as a church or other charity, including neighborhood associations.
  6. Apply for assistance with Team Rubicon (https://teamrubiconusa.org/response/capabilities-services/) a group that specializes in helping gut homes damaged by disaster so that trade professionals can come in and get the job done faster and cheaper.
  7. Work through the options at DisasterAssitance.gov(https://www.disasterassistance.gov/get-assistance). Links found on this site will streamline some of the other steps, e.g. FEMA application. #HURRICANEHARVEY
  8. Another useful resource : http://harrisrecovery.org/

Here is more information to share with people whose homes that have flooded:

  1. Ensure physical safety - everything else can be replaced - you can’t.
  2. You are in a marathon now, not a sprint - everything will take much, much longer than you want it to. You will be dealing with the federal government (national flood) and they move at their own pace.
  3. Take pictures - lots of pictures. Establish how high the water was inside and outside of your house. You need to prove how deep the water was as part of your flood claim. Use a yardstick or ruler on the outside of your house to establish the high-water mark.
  4. File your claim immediately - get in line for adjustors, etc.
  5. Flood insurance will not reimburse you for loss of use, so any hotel or lodging expenses will be out of pocket.
  6. Save all receipts - all of them.
  7. Order a POD or storage container as they will sell out fast or rent a storage unit.
  8. As soon as the water recedes, start mitigating the damage. Shopvac out what water you can, remove the wet carpets, remove the baseboards and start removing wet sheetrock. Cut a line about 2 feet up the wall. The straighter you cut, the easier the rebuild will be. Bag debris/insulation etc. and take it outside. Save a square of ruined carpet and ruined carpet pad for the insurance to verify replacement value - if you have multiple carpets, save multiple samples. Your goal is to get anything wet out of your house so it can begin to dry. Don’t worry about removing glue down hardwoods, let the contractor handle that during the rebuild
  9. Take pictures of any damage you see, wet sheetrock, wet carpet, wet furniture, anything you want to claim - document. For contents, document individual items - each shirt, book, etc. needs to be enumerated and documented for the claim - if you say 20 books on your claim, you need a photograph where 20 books can be individually accounted for - be exact and over detailed
  10. We are expecting more rain so don’t put flood debris where it can float away, block a drain and cause more trouble.
  11. Be very careful about hiring “the experts” companies will bring in fans, etc. and eat up a lot of your claim check by “drying” your house - once the walls are open, the studs will dry in time. Every dime you spend renting expensive blowers is money you can’t use towards granite countertops or tile upgrades when you rebuild. Fans, your air conditioner a dehumidifier from Home Depot will do the job. You can spray the studs with bleach as they dry out. We saved $10K each claim by doing the work ourselves in our three floods.
  12. Be careful hiring contractors - ask for multiple references, ensure they use sub-contractors they know - they will be busy and be prepared to wait.
  13. Plastic storage tubs work better than cardboard boxes for storage of your undamaged stuff.
  14. Be nice to the adjustor - he or she will be valuing your loss and establishing the rebuild - every dollar counts, so be a pleasant memory for the adjustor, rather than “that” person.
  15. No matter who your insurance company is, all flood claims go through the federal government, all money comes through FEMA, so the time between the adjustor visiting your house and you getting money takes weeks/months - be patient - it is challenging and horrible waiting, but you are dealing with the government and all the other claims that are in flight as well.
  16. Your first estimate will likely be less than you expect, so work with your contractor to file a supplement for things that were missed. Be wary of working with 3rd party arbitrators as they will take a percentage of your total claim, not just any extra they get you in the supplement.
  17. Accept help when offered and be specific - if someone asks, “what can I do?” tell them something specific - I need candles, contractor bags, sandwiches - be grateful of those that reach out and be honest with what you need.
  18. You will get through this, it is a struggle, but you will get through it. Lean on your faith, your friends and family.

THREE Tips on Moving and Places with Current Availability

Here is a list of move-in ready apartments for all those displaced from their homes. This was updated as of yesterday. If you know anyone in need, please pass this on.

Please rent a storage space before you start to move your possessions if you are not moving into an apartment immediately. If you need moving help, please call us. We are restocking our boxes and supplies daily. Amazing Spaces had storage space available the last time that I checked. Rent a storage space that is larger than you think that you will need. If you do not stack your possessions, you will be able to access quickly as you need them.

Avalon at Royal Oaks
2310 Crescent Park Drive
Houston, Texas, TX 77077
281-853-8326
Call: 281-853-8326

Broadmoor Apartments
10215 Beechnut Street
Houston, Texas, TX 77072
281-495-7080 Call:
281-495-7080

Cranbrook Forest Apartments
13875 Elia Blvd.
Houston, Texas, TX 77014
281-495-7080 Call:
281-495-7080

Cleme Manor Apartments
5300 Coke St
Houston, Texas, TX 77020
713-672-6614 Call:
713-672-6614

Champion Townhomes on the Green
11201 Veterans Memorial Dr
Houston, Texas, TX 77067
281-444-6651Call:
281-444-6651

City Parc II at West Oaks
3530 Green Crest Dr
Houston, Texas, TX 77082
832-379-0300 Call:
832-379-0300

Fulton Village Apartments
3300 Elser Street
Houston, Texas, TX 77009
(713) 228-9722 Call:
(713) 228-9722

Heatherbrook Apartments
2000 Tidwell Road
Houston, Texas, TX 77093
(713)694-6655 Call:
(713)694-6655

Haven at West 11th
2205 West 11th Street
Houston, Texas, TX 77008
281-942-4193 Call:
281-942-4193

Haven at Augusta Woods (Limited units available)
8011 Augusta Pines Drive
Spring, Texas, TX 77389
281-730-8197 Call:
281-730-8197

Limestone Apartments
14723 W Oaks Plaza St.
Houston, Texas, TX 77082
281-783-3713 Call:
281-783-3713

Oaks of Ashford Point Apartments
4040 Synott Rd
Houston, Texas, TX 77082
281-531-7676 Call:
281-531-7676

Pine Forest Apartments
17103 Clay Road
Houston, Texas, TX 77084
281-947-3601 Call:
281-947-3601

The Residences at Fannin Station
10000 Fannin Station
Houston, Texas, TX 77045
281-612-7279 Call:
281-612-7279

Stonebridge at City Park
11800 City Park Central Ln
Houston, Texas, TX 77047
713-433-9900 Call:
713-433-9900

Shadow Ridge Apartments
12203 Old Walters Rd
Houston, Texas, TX 77014
281-444-1204 Call:
281-444-1204

Sandpiper Apartments
10400 Sandpiper Drive
Houston, Texas, TX 77096
713-322-9821 Call:
713-322-9821

Sweetwater Point Apartments
7909 S Sam Houston Pkwy E
Houston, Texas, TX 77075
(832) 200-9945 Call:
(832) 200-9945

Village at Uvalde
250 Uvalde Road
Houston, Texas, TX 77015
713-999-6091 Call:
713-999-6091

Vista Arbor Square
10301 Sandpiper Drive
Houston, Texas, TX 77096
713-955-7157 Call:
713-955-7157

The Villas on Winkler
8625 Winkler Dr
Houston, Texas, TX 77017
713-910-7774 Call:
713-910-7774

Waters at Westchase Apartments
11490 Harwin Dr
Houston, Texas, TX 77072
281-942-4128 Call:
281-942-4128

Ravella at Eastpoint
7447 Eastpoint Boulevard
Baytown, TX 77521
832.376.8700 Call:
832.376.8700

Ravella at Kingwood
25710 Tx-494 Loop
Kingwood, Texas 7739
281.359.1599 Call:
281.359.1599

Mason Park
222 Mason Creek Drive
Katy, Texas 77450
281.492.0405Call:
281.492.0405

The Villages of Cypress Creek 
10300 Cypresswood Drive
Houston, Texas 77070
832.237.6200 Call:
832.237.6200

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