Disaster Relief Team
Bay Area Legal Services has received funding to develop a team dedicated to long-term recovery from hurricane and disaster survivors: The Disaster Relief Team.
We are a disaster recovery program focused on providing services to survivors of natural disasters and hurricanes, such as Hurricane Irma or Maria, to the COVID-19 health pandemic.
Our services cover a five-county region: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. Displaced hurricane victims, as long as they are currently living in these areas, are encouraged to apply for our services.
Our team readily provides legal services for hurricane survivors, but also offers unmet social services needs through a dedicated case manager. Because of our widely-cast net of service, we can provide an extensive amount of assistance to needy clients (from bankruptcy to roof repairs).
To continue our services and expand our ability to help survivors, we need your help!
As part of the Volunteer Lawyers Program, we need volunteer attorneys who are willing to assist individuals impacted by Irma or Maria. No legal specialty is required, as numerous types of legal issues arise from disaster impacts. We also welcome any level of involvement, as we have plenty of clients simply in need of consultation and drafting simple legal documents – aside from those needing involved representation.
If you are interested in reviewing our disaster-related case summaries for pro bono assistance, you are encouraged to register to volunteer and select "Disaster Relief" when submitting your form.
Disaster Training Resources
The Disaster Relief Team is currently working on pro bono attorney training videos. In the interim, we highly recommend these disaster training resources:
- DisasterLegalAid.org: Equal Justice Works Disaster Training Videos
- DisasterLegalAid.org: National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center
- FLAdvocate.org: Disaster Legal Resources
Available Pro Bono Cases
For disaster relief cases, please contact Jason Susalla directly – jsusalla [at] bals.org.
Case #19-xxx4132 (Insurance Policy Review – Hillsborough County – Spanish-speaking Only)
Our client's home sustained significant roof damage during Irma. Client has not had resources to fix, and home remains damaged. The roof leaks, mold has grown inside of home, and minor children living with client are getting sick. Client, a Spanish-speaking individual, has homeowner's insurance but does not understand policy nor has attempted to file claim. Though it is likely beyond deadline for filing, client would benefit from review of policy and advice on her rights to file insurance claims in the future.
Case #19-xxx6753 (Contractor and Lien Issue – Hillsborough County)
Our client's home sustained significant damage following hurricane Irma. After working with a public adjuster, client secured insurance claim and contractor to repair. Contractor made initial repairs but failed to complete job. Contractor also filed a lien on client's property for failure to pay, client disputes that she paid the money shortly after the filing - the lien remains. The contractor has ceased work on client's home for months while her home remains in a tattered state.
Case #19-xxx2111 (Mobile Home Law – Pinellas County)
Our client sustained damage to her mobile home during hurricane Irma, partially caused by falling tree limbs. The home is now fixed, but the client fears that neighboring tree limbs are dangerous and could cause damage if another storm impacted the area. The trees are located on neighboring property owned by another mobile home park, and client has sought cooperation in tree trimming without success.
Case #19-xxx7754 (Insurance Policy and Claim/Denial Review – Pinellas County)
The prospective client participated in a home ownership program through HUD in Pinellas County. The home, which had numerous issues, sustained hurricane damage during Irma. The client alleges that she filed a claim with her insurance and was wrongfully denied coverage. The client no longer owns the home in Pinellas, but seeks to recoup damages she had to pay out-of-pocket. Client initially needs review of her previous insurance policy to determine possible remedy.