News Story (Minnesota)
Mila Koumpilova, Liz Sawyer
August 28, 2015
Tags: Disaster Recovery
Organizations mentioned/involved: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
Although Minnesota drew only a small fraction of Katrina refugees, the state and its residents tried to extend a welcome. Minnesota set up a processing center in St. Paul to connect new arrivals with services and provide basic necessities.
The Minnesota State Bar Association spearheaded an effort to offer pro bono legal services out of that center. Jeremy Lane, who led the nonprofit Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid at the time, says local lawyers helped with filling out applications for FEMA assistance, bankruptcy and unemployment benefits, and intervened when insurance companies appeared to stall.
According to the bar association, more than 100 evacuees in Minnesota got free assistance by the end of September 2005 — a response Lane says “still makes me proud to be a Minnesotan when I think back on it 10 years later.”