NATURAL DISASTER RESOURCES & RECOVERY

As we, our partners and our neighbors prepare and respond to severe weather, we have collected resources that may help you and your loved ones access services in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties, which you can find below or by calling 211.

211 provides information about emergency information, natural disaster relief, available shelters, financial assistance and more.

To get connected, text your zip code to 898-211, email uw211help@gmail.com, click here to begin the online chat or dial 2-1-1 on your phone. For life-threatening or property emergencies, please call 911.

CONNECT

For all emergencies, please dial 911.

For hurricane-related crisis clean-up, call 800-451-1954. Example projects could be:

  • Small tree removal
  • Tarping
  • Muck-out (removing mud, drywall, and debris from a home)
  • Hauling debris to the curb

Work that requires special training or equipment such as removing trees leaning on homes or activities requiring permits, is generally out of scope for this organization, who relies on volunteers to complete the work.

Contact our 211 referral database by calling 211 or 877-731-4279. You can also text your zip code to 898-211 or email uw211help@gmail.com.

We can connect you with disaster relief, emergency supplies, FEMA assistance, crisis counseling, and other services available to you in your area.

GiveWell Community Foundation and United Way of Central Florida have activated the United Community Relief Fund (UCRF) to support our community in recovery efforts. 100% of your donation to the UCRF will go towards helping residents of Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Give here.

If you’re in Polk County, you can register here to volunteer.

Individuals can register here for projects in Hardee County.

We will be updating information as it comes in for Highlands County.

County-by-County Resources

Additional Resources

FEMA ASSISTANCE

If your home or job was impacted by a natural disaster, you may be eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance. Click here or call 1-800-621-3362 to see if you are eligible and to apply for financial assistance.

Gas and Travel

Disaster Assistance

American Red Cross: 800-733-2767

Assistance: The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Crisis Cleanup: 800-451-1954. Have an urgent need? Call this number to get your project on the list.

Emergency Alerts

Operation Blue Roof888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258). This organization helps to add tarps to roofs in need. Applicants who use 711 or video relay service can call 800-621-3362. Those who are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech disability and use TTY can call 800-462-7585.

Housing and Legal

Available Housing: for Florida residents who have been displaced by a storm.

Office of Insurance: 
Office of Insurance Regulations
Division of Financial Services
1-877-693-5236
myfloridacfo.com

Free Legal Assistance: www.floridabar.org or (866) 550-2929

Storm Shelters

FIND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT THROUGH THE NATIONAL DISASTER DISTRESS HELPLINE

If you or a loved one is having a difficult time coping with recent disasters emotionally or mentally, the Disaster Distress Hotline is available 24/7 and in many languages. Individuals can call the helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. If you speak Spanish, you can access the helpline at the same number or by texting Hablanos to 66746. This helpline is staffed by trained crisis counselors.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are powerful tropical weather systems. When hurricanes move onto land, they sweep the ocean inward. Heavy winds, tornadoes, strong thunderstorms, flooding, storm surge and landslides can all be caused by hurricanes.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak season from mid-August to late October.

Hurricane Categories

  • Tropical Depression: winds up to 39 miles per hour (mph).
  • Tropical Storm: 39 to 73 mph winds
  • Category 1: 74 to 95 mph winds
  • Category 2: 96 to110 mph winds
  • Category 3: 111 to 130 mph winds
  • Category 4: 131 to 155 mph winds.
  • Category 5: winds 156 mph or greater.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS

Remember the four steps: Gather. Record. Prepare. Protect.

Gather important documents, such as insurance policies, birth certificates, deeds, and utility bills and store them in waterproof containers. Also gather any important mementos, such as family photos and keepsakes. Write down any important numbers in case you lose power.

Record evidence of your home. Take photos of the inside and outside, including walls, floors, close-ups of appliances and other high-end items. Email photos to yourself for backup.

Prepare your home if you have time. Secure outdoor objects or move them inside, protect windows and use sandbags in doorways.

Protect yourself. This is the most important step. Keep cash, your photo ID and any medications with you. Follow evacuation orders — they are made to keep you safe. If you choose to stay, remember to store enough food, water and pet supplies with you. Store extra batteries, a battery-operated radio and gasoline.

Our Mission

To inspire our community to give, advocate and volunteer by identifying needs and mobilizing vetted resources to create positive, local change.

Our Vision

To unite our community and empower everyone to achieve their full potential.

Contact Us

BY MAIL
PO Box 1357,
Highland City, FL 33846

BY PHONE
863.648.1500

VISIT US
5605 US Highway 98 S.
Lakeland, FL 33812

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