Remarks from LSC Board Vice Chair Father Pius Pietrzyk at a LSC Disaster Task Force event marking the release of its report on Tuesday, November 12, at 9:30 a.m. at the New York City Emergency Management Department.
The report offers recommendations on how legal services providers can collaborate with outside partners to help vulnerable communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
Low-income survivors are typically the hardest hit by a disaster and frequently have pressing legal needs. They may require help obtaining copies of important documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and Social Security cards to apply for or restore benefits and support. Low-income and other vulnerable people who need housing after an emergency are more susceptible to scams and price-gouging. Disasters also increase needs in the core areas of practice for legal aid, such as public benefits, domestic violence prevention, consumer law, and fraud prevention.
The Disaster Task Force’s report offers concrete steps relating to building relationships and providing coordinated legal services to disaster survivors; training pro bono lawyers and legal services providers before a disaster strikes; ensuring continuity of operations planning for courts and legal services providers; and preparing individuals, families, and communities for disasters.
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