WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2021 — The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program is teaming up with Equal Justice Works, the American Red Cross, Pro Bono Net and the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center for the first-ever Disaster Resilience Awareness Month in March 2021.
Throughout March, the organizations will share information and resources for disaster survivors and lawyers who are supporting communities affected by COVID-19 and other disasters including hurricanes, flooding and wildfires.
Through the Disaster Legal Services Program, the ABA Young Lawyers Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide immediate temporary legal assistance to disaster survivors at no charge. Since September 2007, the ABA YLD has responded to 227 declared disasters in 45 states and five U.S. territories. During March, the program will share information on how to get involved in national disaster legal aid efforts by posting resources, service delivery strategies and tips to help lawyers better assist and represent disaster survivors.
Fellows in the Equal Justice Works Disaster Resilience Program will host trainings on DisasterLegalAid.org in partnership with various organizations, government agencies and legal services providers to educate communities on their legal rights before, during and after a disaster and the legal services available to disaster survivors. Topics will include applying for FEMA benefits, title clearing, disability-specific needs, assistance for immigrants and refugees and other disaster-related legal matters.
Legal aid and pro bono attorneys who want to access additional specialized disaster advocacy resources can join the National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center, a growing online community of advocates working on disaster response and recovery.
“Collaboration within the disaster legal community is crucial when it comes to not only disaster response and recovery, but also mitigation and preparedness,” said Linda Anderson Stanley, director of the Disaster Legal Services Program and senior project manager at Equal Justice Works. “With disasters becoming increasingly frequent and devastating, it is important that there is a collective effort to bring people’s attention to disasters and how communities can prepare for and recover from disasters, before the start of hurricane and wildfire seasons.”
“When disasters hit, it is important for groups to be prepared and to be able to coordinate response across different groups and agencies,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said. “The ABA is proud to be involved in the effort to raise awareness of disaster relief and readiness. The human suffering from these events is great. Lawyers who assist in the recovery and help our fellow Americans are a credit to our profession.”
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