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    Organizations to use after disasters

    These are only some of the organizations you can turn to:


    In 2013 , popular travel host site Airbnb launched a disaster-response initiative that provides free temporary lodging to displaced victims. After a disaster strikes, Airbnb e-mails every registered host in the affected area to ask if they have accommodations for people in need. There has been an overwhelming response, both in the United States and internationally, to this new program: 1,400 hosts in New York provided shelter after Superstorm Sandy, and the list goes on. Hosts helped in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, in Toronto and Atlanta after severe ice storms, and in London, Sardinia, and Colorado after serious flooding.


    The Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association has an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide free legal counseling and services for victims during a federally declared disaster. Upon FEMA’s request, the division provides assistance through hotlines, clinics, and disaster resource centers established in affected areas.



    The Red Cross is a primary responder to roughly 70,000 natural and man-made disasters in the United States every year. From floods to fires, hazardous waste spills to transportation accidents, the Red Cross comes armed with food, relief supplies, and guidance on the next steps to take. In the case of evacuation, the Red Cross opens overnight shelters to house victims and provide them with hot meals.


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    The United Way, in partnership with state agencies, has created Mass 2-1-1 to connect people with community, health, and disaster services through a free 24-hour, seven-days-a-week phone service and searchable online database. If you are unable to dial 2-1-1 from your phone, call the toll-free hotline number (877-211-6277).

    Emeralde Jensen-Roberts can be reached at