Legal aid hotline opens for Hurricane Irma victims

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Updated: A legal aid hotline has opened for Hurricane Irma victims in Florida who can’t afford a lawyer.

The hotline number is 866-550-2929, report the Orlando Sentinel and an ABA press release. The hotline is operated by young lawyers divisions of the ABA and the Florida Bar, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Those who qualify for free legal assistance will be matched with free lawyers who can help with issues such as securing FEMA benefits, making insurance claims, replacing wills and other important legal documents, handling landlord-tenant issues or foreclosure problems, dealing with contractors, and handling consumer matters. Assistance isn’t available for cases in which fees would be paid as part of a settlement or court award.

Callers to the hotline will be asked to leave a message, and the calls will be returned within two business days between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The ABA Young Lawyers Division is developing similar hotlines for the individuals affected by the hurricane in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“The ABA knows that in addition to the repairs necessary to rebuild after a major storm, legal issues also arise,” ABA President Hilarie Bass said in a press release. “That is why we have worked to create networks where lawyers stand ready to help the people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, navigate past the bureaucratic roadblocks and get the aid that they need.”

The Florida Bar has resources for lawyers and consumers here.

The ABA’s Young Lawyers Division is participating in a legal aid hotline for Hurricane Harvey victims. The Texas number is 800-504-7030, according to another press release.

An ABA page for other disaster-related resources can be found here.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. with quote from ABA President Hilarie Bass and additional information throughout.

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