As Long Island begins the long recovery process from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Touro Law Center will open a center next week to provide referrals, assistance and legal advice for local residents and small businesses affected by the storm.
“At this time of devastating loss for the residents of the Tri-State area, Touro Law Center faculty, staff, students and alumni are mobilizing to provide assistance as needed in the coming weeks and months,” said Dean Salkin. “We know that based on the experiences from other natural disasters in the State and across the country, the immediate pro bono assistance of trained lawyers and supervised law students is in immediate demand and will be a necessary component of rebuilding for many months to come.”
The center, called TLC-HEART (Touro Law Center – Hurricane Emergency Assistance and Referral Team), will be staffed by volunteer lawyers and law students. It will include a telephone hotline (hours to be determined) that will match resident concerns with referrals to federal, state and local government agencies and private groups offering storm-related assistance.
The Center will also offer assistance in assessing eligibility and completing application forms for the wide range of emergency assistance available to storm victims, both individuals and small businesses (e.g., food stamps, government loans and grants); free legal consultation and advice on storm-related legal issues (e.g., insurance, landlord-tenant, consumer complaints, unemployment); assistance to members of the Touro Law community who are in need.
Beginning next week, residents will be able to call the center at (631) 761-7198 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Touro Law is coordinating with the New York State Bar Association and local bar associations, and with Nassau and Suffolk County officials. Touro Law Center’s Public Advocacy Center (PAC), Student Disaster Relief Network and Student Bar Association are also joining in the effort. The PAC houses a dozen not-for-profit public interest law groups that already provide assistance on senior citizen, employment, disability, family law, domestic violence and similar issues.