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Iowa Legal Aid receives $1.4 million to help derecho victims

Iowa Legal Aid will receive more than $1.4 million from the Legal Services Corporation to help provide legal services to low-income people who were impacted by the August 2020 derecho.

The nonprofit corporation, which pays for civil legal aid for low-income people, was also awarded an additional $34,577 to reimburse Iowa Legal Aid for services related to the derecho.

The Iowa organization is one of 19 across the country receiving grants for natural disasters that happened in 2020 and 2021, according to a news release from the Legal Services Corporation.

Congress included $40 million for the nonprofit in a $28.6 billion emergency supplemental appropriation attached to the September 2021 continuing resolution to fund the government in fiscal 2022.

Nick Smithberg, executive director of Iowa Legal Aid, said Thursday they are grateful for the additional funding.

The money, he said, will allow them to hire additional staff — paralegals and lawyers — in the Cedar Rapids regional office and in Des Moines. They will also use the funding to engage more legal volunteers and conduct community building and outreach with Iowa’s disaster response groups.

Lawyers aren’t the first thing people think about needing when a natural disaster strikes but disasters bring many legal challenges, Smithberg said.

Many times, people who have storm damage to their homes need help with a title so they can receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They may need help Replacing documents or with insurance claims and with contractor fraud or scams.

Smithberg said he didn’t have any statistics for the number of derecho cases Legal Aid has been handled, but hopes to do that once additional staff is hired.

The recovery process, he said, will continue for a long time. The last legal aid cases related to the 2008 historic flood weren’t closed

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Puerto Rico Legal Services receives $882k to help the victims of earthquake

On Jan. 7, 2020Puerto Rico witnessed a fatal 6.4 magnitude earthquake that claimed the lives of Puerto Ricans, and left many injured.

Another catastrophic earthquake occurred on the island on May 2, with a magnitude of 5.4, leaving Tallaboa, a suburb of Ponce, in shambles.

These earthquakes forced nearly 7,500 residents out of their homes and were placed in shelters and tents.

Two years later, the island is now receiving legal assistance in order to file for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so they can get back on their feet.

Legal Services Corporation, an initiative that was launched in 1974 for residents to receive civil legal aid stated that they will give $38 million in grants to 19 civil legal aid organizations in regions impacted by natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

puertoricolegal-services-inc-program-profile”Puerto Rico Legal Servicesa branch within Legal Services Corporation, will receive $882,140 of the $38 million to give to low-income residents who live Southwest of the island.

“Low-income people who confront civil legal issues in the wake of natural disasters face an uphill battle, and they shouldn’t have to go it alone,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “We are grateful that Congress recognizes the need for legal assistance in these recovering communities and provides this funding that will help our neighbors repair and stay in their homes, obtain key identification documents, apply for benefits and so much more.”

Puerto Rico will use the grants to receive legal advice and representation in order to restore homes and other properties that were damaged by the natural disasters.

Other parts of America that are receiving assistance from this organization are Oregon, who’s been affected by wildfires; California, who has also received an abundance of wildfires; and Louisiana, a state which

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Legal Services Corp. awards funds to Iowa Legal Aid for 2020 derecho victims | Local News

WASHINGTON — Legal Services Corporation is awarding $1.4 million to Iowa Legal Aid to support the delivery of legal services to low-income people impacted by the August 2020 derecho.

LSC is also granting ILA an additional $34,577 to reimburse already incurred costs from providing services related to the 2020 derecho.

ILA is one of 19 organizations around the country receiving grants for natural disasters faced in 2020 and 2021. Congress included $40 million for LSC in a $28.6 billion emergency supplemental appropriation attached to the September 2021 Continuing Resolution to fund the government in FY 2022.

Survivors of natural disasters often require immediate legal assistance to file for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance and insurance benefits and to deal with related evictions, unemployment and document replacement. Legal challenges can haunt survivors for years. Cases involving FEMA appeals, bankruptcy, public housing and domestic violence will arise, and disaster victims can be vulnerable to fraud or scams.

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“Low-income people who confront civil legal issues in the wake of natural disasters face an uphill battle, and they shouldn’t have to go it alone,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “We are grateful that Congress recognizes the need for legal assistance in these recovering communities and provided this funding that will help our neighbors repair and stay in their homes, obtain key identification documents, apply for benefits and so much more.”

ILA will use the funding to enhance its capacity to provide direct representation to derecho survivors, engage more pro bono volunteers and conduct community building and outreach with Iowa’s disaster response groups. The grant will fund additional staff, advertisements in rural areas, new equipment and a mobile intake unit. A holistic case manager will provide support to attorneys and paralegals while connecting clients to vital resources.

Members of

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Kentucky Legal Aid to receive more than $3M to help December tornado survivors | News

A national nonprofit that provides financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans is awarding more than $3 million to Kentucky Legal Aid to help people impacted by the December tornado outbreak.

The award of $3,004,620 comes from the Legal Services Corporation, an independent nonprofit created by Congress in the 1970s. The group says Kentucky Legal Aid will use the funding to improve staffing and infrastructure to help low-income storm survivors get the legal advice and representation they need for disaster-related issues.

Legal challenges storm survivors may be dealing with could include bankruptcy filings, Federal Emergency Management Agency appeals and legal matters related to housing, domestic violence, fraud or scam cases and more.

“Low-income people who confront civil legal issues in the wake of natural disasters face an uphill battle, and they shouldn’t have to go it alone,” LSC President Ronald S. Flagg said in a statement released Wednesday. “We are grateful that Congress recognizes the need for legal assistance in these recovering communities and provided this funding that will help our neighbors repair and stay in their homes, obtain key identification documents, apply for benefits and so much more.”

LSC says Kentucky Legal Aid will also build a unified Case Management System to allow advocates to serve storm survivors remotely, enabling them to help people where they live and work and where recovery and rebuilding efforts are ongoing. The organization also says a communications coordinator will raise awareness of the civil legal services survivors can access.

Kentucky Legal Aid has a free legal helpline for tornado survivors in the state. The line is available from 9 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday, and messages can be left after hours and on weekends. The number for the helpline is 877-782-4219. Those calling to leave a message are advised

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