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September 19, 2022

ABA Disaster Legal Services partners with Pro Bono Net to launch Spanish-language tool

CHICAGO, Sept. 19, 2022 — The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program and Pro Bono Net announce the Spanish-language version of a self-help disaster recovery tool that allows disaster survivors to create an appeal letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The tool, “Carta de apelación a la Agencia Federal de Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés),” is powered by LawHelp Interactive and can be found here.

Pro Bono Net’s FEMA appeals interactive interview enables survivors to create and generate an appeal letter they can print or download to file directly with (FEMA. It was initially developed with the City Bar Justice Center in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and has helped more than 14,000 survivors impacted by major disasters. It has also been updated to reflect changes in the application and appeals process, including in 2021 to incorporate questions that address the needs of survivors with disabilities. These updates come at a time when federal agencies, including FEMA, are reexamining their policies and practices to eliminate barriers that have historically prevented people from accessing federal disaster assistance.

“Language access is a critical component of equitable disaster recovery,” said Linda Anderson Stanley, special adviser of the DLS program. “The additions to this tool come at a key time as the Atlantic hurricane season is upon us. We are lucky to work with Pro Bono Net on such an important project.”

“We are pleased to work with the Disaster Legal Services Program to make our tool accessible to Spanish-speaking survivors,” said Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz, Pro Bono & Strategic Initiatives manager at Pro Bono Net. “With Spanish being the second-most spoken language in the U.S., this is an important step toward more equitable responses after disasters. We hope to reach more people seeking federal assistance to recover.”

About Pro Bono Net

Pro Bono Net is a nonprofit leader in increasing access to justice, transforming the way legal help reaches the underserved through innovative technology and collaboration. To learn more about Pro Bono Net’s programs, click here. For more information about Pro Bono Net’s disaster recovery efforts, click here.

Through the Disaster Legal Services Program, the ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) 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 over 200 major disasters across the U.S. To learn more about the program, please click here.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.