WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2017 —Survivors of the Hurricane Harvey disaster can get legal assistance through the American Bar Association, local legal aid providers and state bar associations in the affected areas.
Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local legal aid offices, the Disaster Legal Services Program of the ABA Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) provides legal assistance to disaster survivors.
To access the help from volunteer lawyers, Texas flood victims should call 1-800-504-7030 and Louisiana flood victims should call 1-800-310-7029, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (local time) Monday through Friday (messages can be left after hours). When connected, callers should identify that they are seeking disaster-related legal assistance, give brief details of the assistance needed and the county where they are located. Individuals who qualify for assistance are then matched with Texas or Louisiana lawyers who have volunteered to provide legal assistance.
Disaster-related legal issues include landlord/tenant problems, insurance claims, FEMA claims and consumer issues such as contractor fraud.
“Our thoughts are with the people of Texas and Louisiana devastated by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath,” ABA President Hilarie Bass said. “Lawyers are stepping up to help alleviate the human suffering and assist in navigating the bureaucratic hurdles that occur as people try to recover.”
Since September 2007, the ABA YLD has responded to more than 157 declared disasters in 43 states and two U.S. territories.
Louisiana flood victims can also download Flood Proof, an app developed by a coalition that included the ABA Center on Innovation after a 2016 flood in the Baton Rouge area. It helps those who have a home but who don’t have legal proof that they own their home. Proving you own your home is necessary to qualify for FEMA, loans, insurance or other rebuilding funds.
Bass said that lawyers throughout the country who want to volunteer to help the effort can:
- Donate to legal services agencies providing free legal assistance to disaster survivors:
- Sign up to volunteer with the State Bar of Texas at www.texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer as the Texas Supreme Court may issue an order allowing out of state attorneys special authorizations to practice.
- Find other disaster-related resources here.
Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.
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