Along with other civil legal service organizations throughout the state and country, Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida provides assistance after a disaster strikes. We assist people with their recovery efforts such as, FEMA appeals, disaster benefits (food & unemployment), landlord/tenant disputes, foreclosure issues, consumer scams and fraud, proof of ownership issues, disaster housing, and more.
If you have court scheduled during a disaster or hurricane, it may be automatically rescheduled. To find out if your courthouse is open, you may check https://www.flcourts.gov or your individual circuit’s website or social media. In Broward County, the website is https://www.17th.flcourts.org/ and the 17th Judicial Circuit’s emergency hotline phone number is (954) 831-7777. In Collier County, the website is https://www.ca.cjis20.org/ and the 20th Judicial Circuit Information hotline number is (239) 533-1773. The hotline will provide information on closures and openings for all five counties in the 20th Judicial Circuit.
The Florida Bar’s YLD Disaster Legal Services Hotline is open.
Survivors may call 866-550-2929 for legal assistance.
The Legal Aid Disaster Hotline is 833-514-2940.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has activated the State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) to provide an additional resource for Floridians to receive up-to-date information regarding Hurricane Ian. Residents and visitors may call this toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3557.
The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) provides food assistance for individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Ian who are not receiving food assistance benefits through the regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, D-SNAP is implemented by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). Many times, DCF will approve an early release of SNAP benefits when there is a disaster coming. Eligible recipients will have the early release benefits automatically added to their EBT card. There is no need for recipients to apply for the early release of benefits. In addition, DCF may be able to help replace food lost after the disaster. You will need to apply for food replacement using a Food Assistance Authorization form that you may find online. Check https://myflfamilies.com for information regarding SNAP benefits.
For new applications for SNAP benefits, you may learn more or apply online here.
Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) if you are in need of resources and information about recovery programs and disaster assistance. Visit floridadisaster.org/info for the most up to date information, locations, days of operation, and hours.
Beware of Hurricane Related Scams. Anyone who suspects price gouging can report it to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by using the No Scam app, visiting MyFloridaLegal.com or calling 1 (866) 9NO-SCAM. Attorney General Moody’s No Scam app can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices through the app store by searching No Scam. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers disaster relief to eligible victims through various programs. When seeking aid, consider the following:
If you have been a victim of a scam, report it immediately by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or visit http://myfloridalegal.com or Scams at a Glance: After the Storm | Estafas: Despues de la Tormenta.
Ways to Report Fraud to FEMA
For more information visit fema.gov/disaster-fraud
Report Price Gouging in Florida
CCLA may be able to help you if you have been the victim of a scam. Please apply online or call 954-736-2400.
Individuals may apply in multiple ways:
Florida homeowners and renters who registered for FEMA disaster assistance after a disaster should stay in touch with FEMA to ensure the disaster assistance process stays on track. Keep your information updated! FEMA encourages survivors to request direct deposits of disaster assistance to their financial institution. Survivors should let FEMA know as soon as possible of any changes to their banking information. It is important to note that FEMA disaster assistance checks cannot be forwarded. If you cannot access your home address, you can request the postal service to hold your mail.
Visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/PlanPrepare for information to create a family plan or a business plan.
Check the Florida Disaster Site to look up your address and learn whether you live an evacuation zone, a low-lying, flood prone area, a mobile home or an unsafe structure during hurricane season. These areas and buildings are most likely to be evacuated and knowing these zones helps you prepare to evacuate and better understand orders from local officials. https://www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/know-your-zone-know-your-home/ Learn your evacuation route options.
You may sign up for the Florida Department of Health’s Special Needs Registry at https://snr.flhealthresponse.com/. This will register you with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.
Florida Statute 252.905 declares any information furnished by a person or business to the Florida Division of Emergency Management for the purpose of being provided assistance with emergency planning is exempt from F.S. 119.07 (1) and s. 24 (a), Art. I of the State Constitution. Information provided through the registry is therefore exempt from public records requests made of the Division.
Florida has tax-free holidays to help you prepare for disasters. Many essential supplies will be tax-free including cleaning supplies, batteries, and flashlights. Bottled water, canned food, first aid kits, and diapers are always tax-free. Visit https://floridarevenue.com/pages/salestaxholidays.aspx to find out when the next tax-free holiday is.
FEMA Help After a Disaster English | Español
Legal Aid After a Disaster
Legal Aid Disaster Resource Center
Hurricane Idalia – Disaster Resource Guide
Assignment of Benefits English | Español | Kreyòl
Avoid Contractor Home Repair Fraud English | Español | Kreyòl
Food Assistance English | Español | Kreyòl
Insurance After a Disaster English | Español | Kreyòl
Public Adjuster English | Español | Kreyòl
Tenant Issues After a Disaster English | Español | Kreyòl
Disaster Unemployment Assistance English | Español | Kreyòl
Checklist to Recover From a Hurricane
What is FEMA for? English | Español | Kreyòl
Questions and Answers about FEMA Disaster Assistance (10-11-2022)
FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide (Version 1.1)
D-SNAP Program | English | Español | Kreyòl
How to Document Home Ownership & Occupancy for FEMA – Broward April 2023 | English | Español | Kreyòl | Português