Legal aid after a disaster – essential services, in need of funding
Like so many of you, the OneJustice team has been watching the painful news from Houston and other areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The devastation is heart-stopping, and we are holding everyone in the region in our hearts and thoughts.
We are also taking action to support our colleagues in the legal aid and access to justice community there – and to fund their work, which will be needed now more than ever.
As you know, legal aid nonprofits provide vital services aimed at removing barriers to basic necessities – including access to safe and stable housing, medical care, food, and even clean water. After a natural disaster, these services become even more essential. In addition, these nonprofits often provide assistance with the FEMA benefits process for victims. And they do this work during periods when their own staff, buildings, and volunteers are also in crisis.
The legal aid and access to justice networks in Texas and now Louisiana is rallying to meet the needs of their neighbors and communities. And they need our support. That’s why we wanted to provide the OneJustice network with the updates and donation options. You already bring justice where it is needed more throughout California – and now we can all do the same for Texas and Louisiana. Thank you.
- Lone Star Legal Aid: Headquartered in Houston with offices in Angleton, Beaumont, Galveston, and nine other cities across Southeast and East Texas, Lone Star Legal Aid serves a 60,000 square-mile swath of Texas from Lampassas to the Louisiana state line, from Matagorda Bay to Texarkana. And they have been hit hard by the storm – which was compounded by an explosion and fire that has destroyed their Houston office. They have boots on the ground at the convention center and most of the disaster relief centers (for updates follow their facebook page). You can donate to Lone Star Legal Aid online here.
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation has created a special fund to receive donations to fund Disaster Legal Aid to survivors of Hurricane Harvey. Donate to the Hurricane Harvey Legal Aid Fund here online.
- Legal Hotlines: If you know someone in the area who needs legal advice, hotlines have been set up at in Texas (800 504-7030) and Louisiana (800 310-7029). There is also Harvey specific disaster legal aid information online at the national Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center.
- Attorneys outside Texas interested in volunteering can review information posted by American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division online here or by filling out this form on the State Bar of Texas website. (Houston Volunteer Lawyers also has information on their website here).
- There are also additional resources in the online National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center (a collaboration of Lone Star Legal Aid, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, Pro Bono Net, Legal Services Corporation and American Bar Association)