February 20, 2013

New York Legal Assistance Group Expands Free Sandy-related Legal Services on Staten Island 

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 Staten Island 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 Staten Island locations:

  • The Staten Island Jewish Community Center: 1466 Manor Road
  •  NYC Disaster Relief Center: 1976 Hylan Boulevard

“Staten Island 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.”

“Those who were hardest hit by Sandy know that the road to recovery will be long and arduous. The damage done was unprecedented, and many of the issues Staten Islanders face are complicated and require legal expertise that is just not affordable, especially for those whose financial stability was upended by the storm,” said City Council Member Vincent Ignizio. “The availability of free civil legal services, thanks to the commitment of the JCC and the New York Legal Assistance Group, will have a significant impact on the long term recovery of our communities.”

“Every time that the New York Legal Assistance Group has provided its services to Staten Islanders affected by the storm, their team of legal experts have met with scores of individuals with a full range of needs. Their expertise is appreciated as much as their calm explanations and patience during these stressful times,” David Sorkin, Executive Director of the Staten Island Jewish Community Center.

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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