After 2020 derecho, federal grants will legally help survivors

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Survivors of natural disasters often need legal help to apply for FEMA assistance and insurance benefits.

DES MOINES, Iowa— EDITOR’S NOTE: The above video is from August 2021

The Legal Services Corporation, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide civil legal assistance to low-income Americans, awarded $1.4 million to Iowa Legal Aid to help victims of the August 2020 derecho.

The derecho crossed Iowa with little or no warning, leaving three Iowans dead and thousands without power in the following weeks.

According to a press release from LSCSurvivors of natural disasters often need legal help to apply for FEMA assistance and insurance benefits.

Challenges also arise when it comes to documenting replacement, unemployment and related evictions. In order to tackle the problems that victims still face, access to legal representation is essential.

“Low-income people who face civil legal issues as a result of natural disasters face an uphill battle, and they shouldn’t have to go it alone,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. , in a press release. “We are grateful that Congress recognizes the need for legal assistance in these recovering communities and has provided this funding that will help our neighbors repair and stay in their homes, obtain key identification documents, apply for benefits And much more.”

According Iowa Legal Aidthe funds will be used to improve legal representation for derecho survivors as well as lobby for more pro bono volunteers and expand support for disaster response groups.

The grant will also fund “additional staff, advertisements in rural areas, new equipment and a mobile reception unit.”

ILA is one of 19 organizations across the country receiving grants to help victims of natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.

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