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

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 Brooklyn 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 Brooklyn locations:

  • Shorefront Y: 3300 Coney Island Avenue
  • Shorefront Jewish Community Center: 3049 Brighton 6th Street
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Coney Island: 3001 West 37th Street
  • Coney Island Hospital: 2601 Ocean Parkway
  • Gerritsen Beach Vollies (various sites)
  • NYC Disaster Relief Center: 10 Bouck Court

“Brooklyn 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.”

“Families and businesses in our neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm are slowly rebuilding their lives, but we all know that this is not a short term crisis with a quick fix to recovery,” said Brooklyn City Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “Now our work is shifting from crisis response to a coordinated long term recovery effort, and we are committed to partnering with the Shorefront Y, New York Legal Assistance Group and others to be sure that the legal needs of our citizens are addressed with the same care and urgency as provisions for food, clothing and shelter.”

“NYLAG’s Mobile Legal Help Center with its large core of volunteers is able to provide on the ground legal assistance to Southern Brooklyn residents. I am delighted that NYLAG is partnering with the Shorefront Y to continue the recovery effort and to help ensure that the ongoing needs of Sandy victims are not forgotten,” said Assembly Member Helene Weinstein.

“The Brooklyn South Shore, especially Coney Island, was among the hardest hit by Sandy and nearly three months after the storm, countless people still encounter daily struggles to rebuild their lives,” said Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny. “I know first-hand that the recovery process is far from over, and that permanent community resources need to be established to cultivate long-term relief. We are thrilled that the New York Legal Assistance group is partnering with the JCC of Greater Coney Island to provide legal assistance, a fundamental need of families and businesses recovering from this disaster.”

“The Shorefront YM-YWHA is pleased to grow our relationship with the New York Legal Assistance Group and bring critical legal resources into our south Brooklyn community so ravaged by Sandy. The challenges and legal concerns facing our local residents, both homeowners and tenants are growing in number and complexity. It is great to partner with NYLAG during this post-Sandy Recovery as an experienced, professional and sensitive resource,” said Susan Fox, Executive Director of the Shorefront Y.

“Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island and Shorefront Jewish Community Council in Brighton Beach join in expressing our sincere appreciation to the New York Legal Assistance Group for their consistent support and assistance to our communities over the years and especially for being one of the first responders to the Hurricane Sandy disaster. It soon became clear that legal counsel and advocacy is critical to the relief effort and NYLAG’s response has been immense in volume and high-quality in professionalism. Many families and homes have been saved through NYLAG’s efforts,” said Rabbi Moshe Wiener, Executive Director of Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island and of the Shorefront Jewish Community Council.

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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