Free Hurricane Ida legal services expand to Edgard

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 28, 2022

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EDGARD — Through an agreement with St. John the Baptist Parish, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provides free, income-based legal services to Hurricane Ida victims who could not otherwise afford to hire an attorney.

Services are offered on the East Bank from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday at the St. John Parish Government Complex, located at 1811 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace. Starting this week, free legal services will also be available on 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.

Though walk-ins are accepted, appointments are strongly preferred to confirm eligibility and reduce wait times. To schedule an appointment, please call 225-448-0080 ext. 308.

Hailey Manint, an attorney with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, has assisted St. John Parish residents on a weekly basis since November 2021.

FEMA disputes, successions, and disputes with contractors have been 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’re having an issue communicating with FEMA, we can potentially help them appeal the decision and try to get some more money,” Manint said. “Something else that is very common is title issues. If someone never did a succession after their parents died, they will have trouble proving to FEMA and insurance that they own the property. We can oftentimes help people get a succession done so they can get the money to repair their house.”

When it comes to disputes 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 stamps denials, disaster unemployment benefits, power of attorney, landlord-tenant problems, family law, foreclosures, bankruptcy and notarization.

“St. John is 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 what your legal rights are and be able to get yourself in a position to start fixing your house,” Manint said. “It’s incredibly important to have this kind of service for low income individuals who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a lawyer.”

When residents call 225-448-0080 ext. 308, an intake specialist will ask questions about the legal issue and income to determine eligibility.

There is no deadline to apply. Manint plans to maintain a presence in St. John Parish at least through November 2022. She will be available on Thursdays in Edgard throughout the summer, and this may extend further based on the need.

Sponsors of the free legal services program include Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Greater New Orleans Foundation, LSC, Louisiana Bar Foundation and United Way of St. Charles.