Civil Legal Aid Must Play a Larger Role in Disaster Recovery


Civil legal aid is an underappreciated model for how we should react to future disasters.
Blog Post (Louisiana)

Laura Tuggle
TalkPoverty.org
August 27, 2015
READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Tags: Disaster Recovery

Organizations mentioned/involved: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS)


DETAILS

For 10 years, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), a civil legal aid organization I run, has been on the front lines helping people recover from the storm. When a landlord displaced nearly 300 families in order to charge higher rent, we challenged him in court. When lack of clear property titles threatened the ability of homeowners to access millions of rebuilding funds administered by the government, our staff and volunteer attorneys helped them clear the legal hurdles. As scam contractors exploited families who were trying to rebuild their homes, legal aid attorneys held them accountable in court.

I’m proud to say we have provided assistance to nearly 400,000 people. We continue to represent Katrina survivors today, as Katrina remains our single largest civil legal aid challenge in our nation’s history.

Unfortunately, we haven’t learned our lesson about the importance of providing civil legal aid after disasters. After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, only $1 million out of the $60 billion appropriated by Congress was earmarked for civil legal aid.