Free Legal Assistance Available to Mississippi Tornado Survivors at Hattiesburg Disaster Recovery Center

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Free legal assistance is available beginning Monday, Feb. 13 to survivors of the January severe storms and tornadoes who need help with home repair contracts, counseling on landlord-tenant issues or assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims.

Survivors who can’t afford to hire a lawyer for their disaster-related legal issues will be matched with Mississippi lawyers who have volunteered to provide free in-person legal help Monday, Feb. 13. Additional in-person legal service hours are planned for Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Friday, Feb. 17 at:

C.E. Roy Community Center
300 E. 5th Street
Hattiesburg, MS  39401

 

In-person legal service hours are:

Monday, Feb. 13: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Friday, Feb. 17: Details pending

Legal assistance can include:

  • help securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors
  • replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster
  • assistance with consumer protection issues such as price gouging and avoiding contractor scams during rebuilding
  • counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems

Disaster legal services are available to eligible individuals and households affected by the Jan. 21 severe storms and tornados in Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry counties. Survivors can also call the Disaster Legal Services hotline at 877-691-6185 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Mississippi lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help. Assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee; for example, those cases in which attorneys are paid part of the settlement by a court. Such cases are referred to a local lawyer referral service. Consultations with attorneys are confidential.

Legal services are provided by MEMA and FEMA partners, the Mississippi Center for Legal Services, Mississippi Bar Association, South Central Bar Association and Hattiesburg Area Young Lawyers.

For more information on Mississippi’s tornado recovery, go to fema.gov/disaster/4295 or visit the MEMA site at msema.org. Follow MEMA on Facebook and on Twitter @msema.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

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