Center for Arkansas Legal Services awarded $500,000 for 2019 disaster relief grant

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Center for Arkansas Legal Services has been awarded $500,000 for the 2019 Disaster Relief Grant by the Legal Services Corporation, as announced Tuesday.

On May 21, 2019, Arkansas experienced record-breaking flooding that continued until the floodwaters receded on June 14, 2019. On June 8, 2019, the President issued a disaster declaration for 13 Arkansas counties: Arkansas, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell. The Center for Arkansas Legal Services (CALS) serves the poverty populations in all of these counties with offices located in Jefferson, Pope, Pulaski, and Sebastian counties.

Flood survivors are faced with a multitude of unique legal needs from this disaster: 1) appealing FEMA denials, 2) resolving issues with contractors and contract reviews, 3) addressing food insecurity due to spoilage and SNAP denials; 4) replacing documents such as driver’s license, SSA card, birth certificate, insurance, mortgage, and title documents; 4) addressing mortgage and bankruptcy issues 5) representing clients with landlord-tenant disputes, 6) resolving property insurance issues, 8) replacing personal property from destroyed storage units, 9) restoring public utilities, and 10) replacing  medications and insurance denials.

The grant will be used to increase access to legal services and will expand the capacity for legal aid staff to better address the needs of the flood survivors. The project will allow CALS to enhance intake resources so that survivors can apply for services using an online portal and will allow for the development of a dedicated disaster relief hotline, in-person survivor and community outreach, and expanded pro bono recruitment for disaster-related legal cases.

If you or someone you know was impacted by the Arkansas River flooding, we encourage you to contact our Helpline for assistance. We are able to provide legal advice and possible representation for flood-related issues, and have information about many civil legal matters on our website.

The Center for Arkansas Legal Services is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income Arkansans with civil legal problems, including criminal record sealing, eviction defense, foreclosure prevention, consumer issues, housing, help for victims of domestic abuse, and representation in public benefits. To see if you qualify for legal assistance please call 1-800-950-5817 or visit www.arlegalservices.org.

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