Nashville, TN -- For individuals who suffered property damage or were economically injured by the severe storms, high winds and heavy rain of July 21st and 22nd, legal help is now available under an agreement between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division.
The legal assistance is designed specifically for disaster victims who have insufficient resources to secure adequate legal services, whether or not the lack of resources existed prior to the disaster. Such individuals can call the Young Lawyers Division at 1-800-899-6993, for help.
Participating lawyers volunteer their time and can offer a legal assessment of a number of disaster-related issues including:
- Help with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills or loss of property.
- Drawing up new wills and other legal papers lost in the disaster.
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors.
- Advice on problems with landlords.
- Help with guardianships, powers of attorney and other similar legal concerns.
- Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures.
- Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure concerns.
The legal assistance program is just one of many disaster assistance programs available to those affected either directly or indirectly by the storms. Other assistance includes grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs, disaster unemployment assistance, and other serious disaster-related expenses. U. S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans are available for homeowners, renters and business owners for property loss or damage.
To apply for federal/state disaster assistance, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired, any day, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., local time.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.