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Carl Rauscher
Director of Media Relations
202.295.1615
rauscherc@lsc.gov

 

Online Resource Adds Information To Help Disaster Victims

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, DC - A business bankruptcy primer and federal disaster housing guidance are among the recent additions to a new website set up by the Legal Services Corporation and three other national legal organizations to help victims of disasters find valuable information and assistance.

The National Disaster Legal Aid website - www.disasterlegalaid.org - is sponsored by LSC, the American Bar Association, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and Pro Bono Net. The website was launched in November to help disaster victims recover from hurricanes, fires, floods and other disasters.

The legal problems faced by people affected by disasters continue for years following the actual event. The issues involve landlord/tenant disputes, rent-gouging by unscrupulous landlords, temporary housing problems, consumer fraud and domestic violence from disaster-related distress. Health and environmental problems arise from the cleanup of homes and buildings.

The disaster website consists of three major information sections:

For People Who Need Help, which provides state-by-state links and information on how to find a legal aid or pro bono attorney, find emergency and temporary housing, file insurance claims and understand legal rights. This section recently added information from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on revisions to the Disaster Housing Assistance Program Operating Requirements, which includes guidance on the transition process for families that are relocating out of housing units provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For Legal Aid Attorneys, which provides disaster materials and manuals, FEMA updates and LSC directives. This section recently added the Business Bankruptcy Primer prepared by the American Bar Association's Business Bankruptcy Committee.

For Pro Bono Attorneys, which contains information for lawyers and legal professionals who want to volunteer during disasters or help people affected by disasters.

The website builds on the success of the Katrina Legal Aid Resource Center, launched in September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast. Like the Katrina website, the National Disaster Legal Aid website is part of an ongoing effort by LSC to facilitate the flow of information to legal services programs so that they may continue to deliver high-quality legal assistance to low-income individuals and families. LSC, established by Congress, funds 137 programs with more than 920 offices around the nation.

For more information about National Disaster Legal Aid, please contact John C. Eidleman at LSC (eidlemaj@lsc.gov).