Katrina: Why Legal Advocates Are Crucial for Victims of Disaster

To see broad-based change, communities across the country must support increased resources for civil legal aid and indigent criminal defense.

Op-Ed (Louisiana)

Chiraag Bains
Huffington Post
August 31, 2015

Tags: Disaster Recovery


The problem of inadequate legal representation persists today. And it is not confined to one state or region. One in five Americans qualifies for free legal assistance from a civil legal aid organization, but more than half of those who seek help are turned away due to lack of resources.

People contesting an eviction or foreclosure, seeking a restraining order, or fighting unfair debt collection practices are often left to navigate the complex legal system on their own. The situation is equally stark on the criminal side. Public defender systems across the country are strained beyond their capacities, struggling with understaffing and unreasonably high caseloads.