Free Legal Assistance Available for California Fire Survivors

A legal hotline is now available for people impacted by the Carr Fire Shasta County, California (additional counties may be added).

Disaster survivors facing legal issues related to the fires and who are unable to afford a lawyer may call the hotline at 1-800-822-9687. The hotline hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday. Callers may also leave a message or visit the Carr Fire Disaster Relief Center, seven days a week, from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, at 2685 Hilltop Drive in Redding, CA (formerly Kmart) or Legal Services of  Northern California’s office in Redding at 1370 West Street.

  • The type of legal assistance available includes:
  •  Replacement of identification documents other important destroyed legal documents;
  • Assistance with life, medical, and property insurance claims;
  •  Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
  • Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures;
  •  Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems;
  •  Counseling on landlord-tenant problems; and
  •  Assistance with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors.
    The hotline is a partnership between Legal Services of Northern California, the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Legal assistance may not be available for fee generating cases. Such matters can be referred for skilled lawyer representation through a State Bar of California certified lawyer referral service in your area.

Major Disaster Declaration
On August 4, 2018, a Major Disaster Declaration was issued for the state of California, making federal funding available to individuals and business owners in Shasta County.

To register with FEMA and apply for assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) seven days a week from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Applicants should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (i.e. a current telephone number, social security number, and an address to receive mail),
insurance coverage, and any other information to help substantiate the loss. Note: if you are eligible for an Individual Assistance grant you are not required to pay back FEMA. There is no income threshold for Individual Assistance grants, but you may be referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a low interest disaster loan, which must be repaid. The deadline to register is October 3.

In addition, there is information available at:

www.LawHelpCA.org – This statewide website, hosted by the Legal Aid Association of California, provides information about common legal issues in addition to disaster relief information. It also has an updated directory of pre-screened organizations that offer free or low-cost legal advice and representation.

www.disasterlegalaid.org – A collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the ABA, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Texas Legal Services Center, and Pro Bono Net, Disaster Legal Aid provides disaster legal information to the low and moderate income public.

www.uphelp.org – United Policyholders (UP) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group that specializes in helping disaster survivors with insurance claim issues. UP also trains case managers and legal aid lawyers to assist clients with insurance and disaster recovery matters.
State Bar of California website – Resources for legal help after a disaster including how to replace documents after a disaster.

Background
When the President declares a major disaster, FEMA, in cooperation with the ABA YLD, establishes a tollfree number for disaster survivors to request legal assistance. Funding for the toll-free line comes from FEMA under the authority of Section 415 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707). The ABA YLD in turn partners with state bars, local bar associations, and legal aid entities to recruit volunteer lawyers in affected areas to handle survivors’ cases.

Hotline Partner Members
American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division – The ABA YLD is the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and the largest voluntary professional membership group in the world.
(https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers.html)

Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including terrorism. (https://www.fema.gov/)

State Bar of California – The State Bar of California’s mission is to protect the public and includes the primary functions of licensing, regulation and discipline of attorneys; the advancement of the ethical and competent practice of law; and support of efforts for greater access to, and inclusion in, the legal system.
(http://www.calbar.ca.gov/)

Legal Services of Northern California (Redding Office) – LSNC’s mission is to provide quality legal services to empower the poor to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty within our community, efficiently utilizing all available resources. (https://lsnc.net)

Contacts:
Jonah Lamb
State Bar of California
(415) 538-2283
[email protected]

Dan Wade
ABA YLD DLS Director
(619) 820-2089
[email protected]

Abre’ Conner
ABA YLD Northern California Representative
(559) 554-2994
[email protected] 

Lauren Sanchez
Legal Services of Northern California
(530) 241-3565 x4077
[email protected]

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-from press release
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