Free legal help for Hurricane Ian survivors

Reporter: Amy Galo
Published: Updated:

Hurricane Ian is a storm we won’t soon forget, and not just for the reasons you may think.

“It just blows my mind how far-reaching the impact of these natural disasters is,” said Stephen Schoenfeld, outreach paralegal at Florida Rural Legal Services.

In the last year, Southwest Floridians have run into many obstacles on the road to recovery.

“It’s not just ‘well, my roof was damaged,'” said Schoenfeld. “I mean, it goes far beyond that to long-term financial problems for people in this area.”

Maybe a contractor stole your money, you’re battling insurance or can’t find your important legal documents.

Whatever it is, Florida Rural Legal Services can help, and they do it for free. The non-profit law firm is offering legal assistance to Hurricane Ian survivors.

“If you come and do an intake, it’s about 20 minutes of your time,” said Schoenfeld. “The more info that you bring, or documentation that you’re able to bring in at least a summary, (the better).”

All you have to do is show up at the Charlotte County Family Services Center any Tuesday between now and September to see if you qualify for help.

The hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s not based just on income. It’s based on a lot of varying factors,” said Donna Artrip, a disaster recovery attorney at Florida Rural Legal Services.

After you stop in, they’ll determine which attorney is the best fit for your experience and see which grant applies.

“I think the biggest thing is that people don’t know about us,” said Artrip. “They’re afraid. Maybe they’ve already had a public adjuster, they’ve already had an attorney, and they’re running out of funds. They’re not sure where to turn to at this point. But all I can say is that we’re here and our consultation is free. Our services are free. So it’s just 20 minutes of your time to see if we can help you.”

If you can’t make it in person or live in another county, help is still available. Just call 1-888-582-3410 or visit this website.

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