Low-Income Residents Still Wading through Hurricane Ida’s Legal Aftermath Gain Help

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Legal ramifications in the aftermath of a storm like Hurricane Ida include loss of or damage do critical documents, a particularly onerous situation for low-income Bucks County residents.

Nearly a year after Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc across Southeastern Pa., including much of Bucks County, the Legal Services Corporation of Washington, D.C. has awarded nearly $400,000 in support. The funding is directed toward low-income people still trying to get their heads above water with matters of insurance, unemployment, evictions, and replacement of legal documents.

Legal Aid of Southeastern Pa. (LASP) is the local go-between organization responsible for the relief delivery. It is one of 19 organizations nationwide receiving grants to help with natural disasters that struck in the 20202021 period.

Disaster survivors often turn first to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for legal assistance. And although it effectively meets short-term needs, displaced residents often face a string of subsequent litigation challenges: FEMA appeals, bankruptcy, public housing snafus, scams, fraud, consumer credit tangles, and even domestic violence.

“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,” he concluded.

LASP will use this grant to put together a team of attorneys and case managers to provide legal representation where needed. Through social media and educational events, the organization will conduct outreach to the affected communities to increase awareness of the legal services available.

LASP will also recruit pro bono attorneys to assist with disaster legal services.   

Members of Pa.’s congressional delegation voiced support for LASP work to help disaster survivors. 

“I want to thank Legal Services Corporation for awarding a critical grant to the Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1).

“The funds from the grant will go towards the citizens of Pennsylvania that need it most and will provide monetary assistance to those who are recovering from Hurricane Ida.

“With many still struggling with the aftereffects of this natural disaster, this grant will provide the civil legal assistance needed to put lives back on track,” Fitzpatrick commented.

Although this information relates to Hurricane Harvey’s 2017 landfall in Texas and Louisiana,
it still illustrates some of the legal issues Bucks County residents are facing post-Ida.
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