11.02.11

Leahy: More Help For Disaster Victims In Vermont

WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2) – Low-income Vermonters struggling to rebuild and recover in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene will receive support for civil legal assistance through a grant from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was informed Tuesday that Legal Services Law Line of Vermont has been awarded more than $65,000 under the grant program.

“This will help some Vermonters who are struggling in Irene’s aftermath,” said Leahy. “The need for this help is acute among many Vermonters who have suffered devastating losses and face great difficulties going forward.  My office has fielded hundreds of case work requests from Vermonters hurt by this storm, and many have a legal component.  They range from real estate law questions from a person who literally saw her house go downstream, to labor law questions from people unable to get to work.”

Law Line of Vermont, based in Burlington, will use the grant to hire an attorney to help provide legal assistance to Vermonters affected by flooding.  The attorney will also work with other Vermont lawyers offering pro bono services to help flood victims.  Federal estimates have indicated that 40 percent of individuals and families affected by the flooding are from low-income households, according to Law Line.

“The grant announced today is a strong reminder of just how important a role the Legal Services Corporation plays in empowering Americans to exercise their rights when legal challenges arise,” Leahy said.  “I commend Law Line for their work on behalf of Vermonters who need civil legal representation.”

The Legal Services Corporation was established by Congress in 1974 to promote equal access to justice and to help provide high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families across the country.  The LSC provides legal services to persons at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

Leahy, who is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has fought for years to preserve the services offered by the Legal Services Corporation.  An appropriations bill passed by the Senate Tuesday includes more than $369 million to support the Legal Services Corporation.  The funding bill also includes crucial cost waivers championed by Leahy, which are considered to be vital to the repair and rebuilding of roads and bridges damaged in August by Tropical Storm Irene.

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Contact Law Line of Vermont at 802-863-7153.

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