Two Ways Lawyers Can Provide COVID-19 Relief Now
Pro Bono Projects that Need Your Help
TAMPA, FLA—Following last month’s statewide moratorium expiration, communities across the state have braced for a wave of evictions and other detrimental legal problems resulting from COVID-19. While healthcare workers and grocery store clerks have taken the frontlines, there is another profession capable of providing life-changing help—lawyers.
Nonprofit law firm, Bay Area Legal Services, has recently launched two major pro bono initiatives to provide vital relief to those with civil legal problems as a result of COVID-19.
The FACE Project (Florida Attorneys Counseling on Evictions) is a statewide network of pro bono attorneys and legal aid organizations fighting homelessness by assisting low-income clients facing eviction. The Hillsborough County Bar Association, Bay Area Legal Services, Legal Aid of Manasota, and the Community Law Program have joined forces to cover Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“These are very heartbreaking stories,” said Tom DiFiore, managing attorney of the housing team at Bay Area Legal Services. “A lot of these people have never been behind on rent.”
The cases are expected to be between two and three hours, and volunteers will be asked to take on no more than one case per month. The project is sponsored by the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section and the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar.
The second project is an expansion of Bay Area Legal’s Disaster Relief Project. Thanks to additional funding for the Legal Services Corporation, the project now extends to clients whose legal issues resulted from COVID-19. This will allow for pro bono attorneys to assist with a wide variety of disaster relief services from bankruptcy to roof repairs in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
“This is an opportunity for pro bono lawyers to be on the frontlines of COVID-19 relief,” said Jason Susalla, Disaster Relief Project Manager at Bay Area Legal, “and we have available cases in numerous areas of law at all levels from advice to litigation.”
Both of these programs are virtual and offer a range of resources and mentorship for pro bono attorneys. To sign up, visit bals.org/volunteer and the select the program of your interest.
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If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.