Midwest Legal Disaster Coordination Project

LSC received a $1.2 million two-year grant to foster strong and sustainable relationships between disaster-preparedness organizations and legal service providers in the Midwest. The 2014 Midwest Legal Disaster Coordination Fund grantees are Iowa Legal Aid and Legal Aid of Nebraska. These grants will help the legal aid nonprofits create solutions that address the need for civil legal aid in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters and integrate a legal component for low-income individuals into statewide disaster preparedness plans. LSC will also coordinate nationally with FEMA, the American Red Cross, National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, the American Bar Association, and others to launch a national response network integrating legal services with traditional disaster relief.

The states in the Midwest Disaster Area are:

  • Arkansas
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota

The DisasterLegalAid.org site is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Texas Legal Services Center, and Pro Bono Net.

DisasterLegalAid.org hosts recent disaster relief news, along with disaster relief information for legal services attorneys, pro bono volunteers, and individuals who need assistance. In 2012, Lone Star Legal Aid received an LSC Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) to lead a revamp of the website, which provides critical guidance on legal issues to disaster survivors as well as to volunteers and attorneys assisting with recovery efforts nationwide.


 

When Hurricane Sandy destroyed tens of thousands of homes in 2012, LSC-funded legal aid programs met the unprecedented demand for legal services with uninterrupted high-quality legal services to low-income persons, despite their own infrastructure damage and staff challenges.

In the immediate aftermath, LSC-grantees provided services for a wide range of storm-related housing issues, including improper evictions, denial of insurance claims, delays in critical repairs, and home repair scams. In addition to direct service to survivors of Superstorm Sandy, local legal aid lawyers recruited and trained pro bono attorneys and participated in long-term community recovery groups. LSC has developed expertise in disaster response and built a network of legal services and national partners to help LSC grantees better serve clients when disaster strikes. Through a coordinated national infrastructure, LSC provides access to the resources and information that legal aid organizations need in order to respond to a disaster.