ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- People affected by the severe storms and flooding from Tropical Storm Nicole can now call a toll-free helpline for legal help on disaster-related issues.
To reach Disaster Legal Services call 1-800-662-7407. The helpline is a joint effort of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and the North Carolina Bar Association.
The helpline, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is available to those with insufficient resources for adequate legal services whether the lack of resources existed before or as a result of the disaster.
"Help repairing and replacing damaged property is an obvious need following flood disasters,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. "But many flood survivors may also find they need help with replacing legal documents or navigating consumer protection issues. We want people to get help with these problems, as well."
The helpline hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
When calling, you will be asked:
- Your name
- A phone number to return your call
- A brief description of legal issues relating to the disaster
Legal services are available to qualifying individuals and include help with state and federal benefits, insurance claims, home repair contracts, replacement of wills and other legal documents destroyed in the disaster, consumer protection matters, mortgage foreclosure issues and counseling on landlord tenant problems.
"These services can be invaluable for people who need legal help in the wake of the disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer W. Montague Winfield. "The state and FEMA urge those who are affected to use this valuable resource."
No member of the volunteer attorney group will accept fee-generating cases. Their services are authorized only to assist in resolving issues arising out of the disaster.
The North Carolina Bar Association also has a free informational pamphlet titled “Rebuilding After Disaster Strikes,” which is available by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to YLD Disaster Services, P.O. Box 3688, Cary, NC 27519. The pamphlet may also be downloaded from the bar association Web site at www.ncbar.org on the home page. Click on “Featured Items.”
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.