New York Legal Assistance Group Expands Free Sandy-related Legal Services in Queens 

NYLAG’s Storm Response Unit Addressing Growing Legal Needs Post-Sandy 

February 20, 2013 – The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is providing expanded free legal services to Queens residents affected by Superstorm Sandy, including assistance with FEMA applications and appeals, housing issues, public benefits, private insurance, and other related legal problems. Recognizing that no one should be forced to navigate the recovery process alone, NYLAG attorneys, paralegals, and financial counselors, supported by pro bono attorneys and volunteers, are now onsite at 22 locations across New York City and Long Island.

NYLAG staff and volunteers are onsite regularly at the following Queens locations:

  • Jewish Community Center of the Rockaway Peninsula: 1525 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway
  • NYC Disaster Relief Center in Far Rockaway: 10-01 Beach 20th Street, Far Rockaway

“Queens residents experienced significant devastation as a result of Sandy, and in addition to dealing with the physical damage to their homes and infrastructure, they are also struggling with the equally painful stress of navigating complex legal issues,” said NYLAG President, Yisroel Schulman. “Thanks to our generous funders, government supporters, and community hosts I am thrilled that we are now offering an expanded program of free legal assistance to Sandy victims in the hardest-hit areas.”

“Nearly three months after Sandy, we are unfortunately still seeing people who do not have access to basic needs,” said Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie. “Legal assistance, among these needs, can often provide a source of relief and assist our neighbors in getting back to a sense of normalcy. Since the first days after the storm, my office has worked diligently to provide resources to those in need. NYLAG has also been on the frontlines, mobilizing its members to provide assistance and counsel to our most vulnerable community members. I am proud to lend my support to this organization for their work in Queens and their dedication to the relief and recovery efforts.”

“While we know the road to recovery will be long and difficult, I am heartened to see an organization like NYLAG take on the responsibility of helping those most in need after Sandy,” said Council Member Mark Weprin. “I look forward to continuing to work with NYLAG in its ongoing efforts to provide storm relief legal services to the greater New York area.”

“One thing that Hurricane Sandy has taught us is that an effective disaster response must be coordinated across government, community groups and partners with the experience to address multiple needs, both in the short and long term,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “We applaud the efforts of the JCC and the New York Legal Assistance Group for recognizing that legal needs after a disaster have a critical impact on the recovery of those affected, and for taking action to ensure that these services are there at no cost to families that have lost so much already.”

“The JCCRP is pleased to announce its partnership with NYLAG,” said Nathan Krasnovsky, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of the Rockaway Peninsula. “The JCCRP has been seeing numerous clients with emerging legal issues due to the storm. Having a NYLAG attorney onsite to assist our clients with these issues has proven to be a tremendous asset. I have personally worked with Sunny Noh, a Supervising Attorney of the Storm Response Unit and I am thrilled that she is helping to lead this project. I can rest assured that my clients are in good hands.”

NYLAG has already helped more than 3,000 New Yorkers address their immediate legal needs following the storm. The expanded Storm Response Unit marks the next phase in the plan for long-term recovery. With approximately $2 million in funding from UJA-Federation of New York, the Robin Hood Foundation, and others, NYLAG is now able to operate on an extended basis in more community locations, and on board its Mobile Legal Help Center, an innovative legal services office and courtroom on wheels that brings attorneys directly to communities across New York City and Long Island. NYLAG also operates a Storm Help Hotline.

NYLAG has a track record of responding quickly and effectively to crises, including in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Haitian earthquake. Within 48 hours of Sandy, NYLAG reached out to legal services agencies in Louisiana to get advice on the needs and legal issues that arose after Hurricane Katrina. Their insights informed NYLAG’s initial training for its staff and volunteers, and these materials are being continually updated as new issues emerge.

For more information about NYLAG’s Storm Response Unit and details about its onsite operations in Queens and elsewhere, visit www.nylag.org/stormhelp or call the Storm Help Hotline at 212-584-3365.

The New York Legal Assistance Group provides free civil legal services to New Yorkers who cannot afford private attorneys. Founded in 1990 on the premise that low-income individuals can improve their lives significantly if given access to the justice system, NYLAG has a comprehensive range of services and core practice areas. For more information, go to www.nylag.org.

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