WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Legal Services Corp. has announced that Micronesian Legal Services, Inc. will receive $1.2 million to help low-income people throughout Micronesia with disaster-related legal needs.
Earlier this year, Congress passed the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. The bill provides $19.1 billion in supplemental disaster funds to address damage caused by hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters that occurred from 2017-2019. LSC received $15 million to support the delivery of legal services to individuals affected by disasters
Legal aid is essential in helping survivors get back on their feet. When disaster strikes a community, the vulnerabilities of low-income people are amplified, and the need for legal assistance becomes even more critical. Survivors need experts who understand the legal issues involved and who can help them secure temporary housing, file insurance claims, replace important legal documents, negotiate with landlords to make necessary repairs, and more.
LSC’s grant will allow Micronesian Legal Services to create a team to help low-income survivors of Super Typhoon Yutu and Typhoon Mangkhut by providing direct legal services, conducting community education, and collaborating with other disaster-services partners. The organization will also implement technology enhancements to better serve the affected population.
“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,” explained LSC president James J. Sandman. “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.”
Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) congratulated Micronesian Legal Services on the award. “Micronesian Legal Services has been central to the response to Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu, helping survivors through the legal complexities of obtaining federal aid,” he said. “And, as was the case for so many recovery workers, the people of Micronesian Legal Services were helping others, while repairing their own homes and lives and recovering from the extensive damage to their offices.
“Making sure the Marianas was fully eligible for assistance in this year’s disaster appropriation was at the top of my agenda for 2019. It is good to see the money Congress appropriated in June now reaching those we intended to help,” Sablan added.
Micronesian Legal Services is one of 12 recipients of disaster funding totaling more than $14 million.
LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. (PR)