Offering Legal Aid After Harvey

An organization worked to bring relief to Houston residents following the disaster. It didn’t occur to them that they were victims, too.
News Story (Texas)

Jonathan Blitzer
New Yorker
September 5, 2017

Tags: Disaster Recovery

Organizations mentioned/involved: Lone Star Legal Aid, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)


Debra Wray Furrh, the advocacy director of Lone Star Legal Aid, evacuated to Texarkana last week when Hurricane Harvey struck. The Houston headquarters were closed. One colleague fled to Nacogdoches, and another was stuck at home, in Pearland. Lone Star, which offers free legal services to the poor from Waco to Galveston, has a special disaster-recovery unit that’s weathered Katrina, Rita, Ike, and the yearly floods and fires since then. “We just stay real calm,” Furrh said.

At nine-thirty on Monday morning, she was working the phones from a room at a Best Western when a colleague texted her with a question: “Is our building on fire?”