Federal Grant Supports Legal Aid in Flood Recovery Effort

By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Legal Aid of Nebraska will use $1.25 million in disaster relief funding over the next two years to help low-income Nebraskans living in communities impacted by the March 2019 flooding.

Assistance will include intensive outreach and education, integrated technology and targeted legal services, Legal Aid of Nebraska said in a news release.

“From the first day of Nebraska’s disaster, Legal Aid’s Disaster Relief Project effectively mobilized emergency and pro bono legal resources across the state,” the organization stated.

The Legal Services Corporation announced the funding earlier this month. It received $15 million in federal appropriations to deliver legal services to people affected by natural disasters in 2019.

“Legal services providers are a critical component of comprehensive disaster relief for survivors facing wrongful evictions, denials of insurance claims and benefits, and consumer scams,” LSC President James J. Sandman said in a news release. “We are grateful to Congress for providing funds to ensure that low-income disaster survivors get the help they need in the aftermath of a disaster.”

Legal Aid of Nebraska plans to focus on the most impacted communities, offering information and direct representation for low-income Nebraskans, especially hard-hit family farmers and renters and homeowners.

Over 90% of the state includes impacted communities, with disaster declarations in 81 of 93 Nebraska counties – 28 of which received FEMA individual assistance. Five tribal areas were also impacted by floods and blizzards.

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer congratulated Legal Aid for the award.

“I’m pleased that the Legal Aid of Nebraska has been selected to receive this disaster relief grant,” Fischer said in a news release. “I worked to ensure that this spring’s disaster supplemental bill included the funding necessary to help Nebraska rebuild from this year’s flooding. Access to high-quality legal services is an important part of recovery, and this grant will help provide that access to Nebraska communities.”

In addition, Iowa Legal Aid received a $1 million grant, which will support flood victims across the state, including those in nearby southwestern Iowa.

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