EDGARD – Through an agreement with St. John the Baptist Parish, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is providing free, income-based legal services to Hurricane Ida victims who otherwise could not afford to hire a lawyer.
Services are offered on the East Rim from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday at the St. John’s Parish Government Complex, located at 1811 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace. Starting this week, free legal services will also be available in the West Bank from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday at the Roland Borne Sr. Memorial Library, located at 2979 Highway 18 in Edgard.
Although walk-in visits are accepted, appointments are strongly preferred to confirm eligibility and reduce wait times. To make an appointment, please call 225-448-0080 ext. 308.
Hailey Manint, an attorney with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, has been helping residents of St. John Parish on a weekly basis since November 2021.
Disputes, estates and disputes with FEMA contractors were the most prevalent legal issues among Hurricane Ida survivors in St. John Parish, according to Manint.
“If someone has been denied FEMA assistance, or if they have a communication issue with FEMA, we can potentially help them appeal the decision and try to get more money,” Manint said. “Another thing that is very common is title issues. If someone has never done an estate after their parents died, they will have a hard time proving to FEMA and insurance that he owns the property We can often help people make an estate so they can get the money to fix their house.
In the event of a dispute with contractors, Manint can help assess each case and provide legal advice.
Other areas where Southeast Louisiana Legal Services can offer assistance include disaster food stamp denials, disaster unemployment benefits, power of attorney, landlord-tenant issues, family law, seizures, bankruptcy and notarization.
“St. John was one of the hardest hit parishes from Hurricane Ida. A hurricane causes so many unforeseen legal problems. It’s important to be able to talk to a lawyer, know your legal rights, and be able to start fixing your home,” Manint said. “Having this type of service is extremely important for low-income people who otherwise couldn’t afford a lawyer.
When residents call 225-448-0080 ext. 308, an admissions specialist will ask about legal issue and income to determine eligibility.
There is no deadline to apply. Manint plans to maintain a presence in St. John Parish until at least November 2022. She will be available Thursdays at Edgard throughout the summer, and this may extend as needed.
Sponsors of the free legal services program include Legal Services of Southeast Louisiana, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Greater New Orleans Foundation, LSC, Louisiana Bar Foundation, and United Way of St. Charles.