Legal & Policy
Residents and organizations in Southwest Louisiana who are seeking legal assistance may be interested in contacting the following entities:
- Southern Law Poverty Center (https://www.splcenter.org)
- ACLU (Louisiana Chapter) (https://www.laaclu.org/en/issues)
- SWLA Law Center (https://www.swla-law-center.com/faq.html)
- Louisiana Appleseed (https://www.louisianaappleseed.org/impact)
Important Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) information for Evacuees needing to request home re-inspection to contest initial damage assessment
“Updated information from staff attorney Hannah Adams at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) on the process for evacuees to request a re-inspection of their home from the local Fire Marshall due to what they believe are inaccurate findings from the initial Red Cross damage assessment.
This information is only intended for evacuees who need to request a damage re-assessment. This information would apply IF an evacuee was in a situation where the initial damage assessment found their house to have minor damage (therefore they are being asked to vacate the hotel and return home) WHILE the evacuee believes there may be major damage and their house is unliveable due to other information or evidence they may have that contradicts the damage assessment findings. It is important to note that mold will not be accepted as reason for change of assessment to “major damage.”
If an evacuee needs to request a reinspection of their home due to what they believe are inaccurate damage assessment findings, they can call 337-721-3800. That number is for the Calcasieu Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness and they will transfer the evacuee to the local Fire Marshall.
If an evacuee needs assistance with this process, SLLS can provide legal assistance with disaster issues to evacuees currently in New Orleans for an unknown duration and/or intending to relocate here. The number to call for SLLS assistance is 1-844-244-7871. Evacuees can also apply online at slls.org.
For folks back in the western part of the state or imminently returning, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services has a new point of contact/attorney in the Lake Charles office of Acadiana Legal Services who can assist people with these issues as well. Her contact info is below.
Hailey Barnett Staff Attorney- Disaster Work
Acadiana Legal Service Corporation
2911 Ryan Street Lake Charles, LA 70601
Tel. (337) 439-0377 Ext. 4212 Fax: (337) 439-0636
In addition, here is some helpful information from Acadiana Legal Service Corporation on the process for those who are displaced (a resident from any parish AND who have returned home and found their home to be unliveable:
Q. What if I leave the hotel but my home isn’t livable when I get there?
A. If you return to your home and believe that your dwelling is unlivable, you have a few options:
1. Residents can contact 211 or go to https://arcg.is/SSaba to request a reassessment.
2. If your home is reassessed into the “major damage” category, you can re-enter the hotel shelter system by visiting the reception center at the Alexandria Mega Shelter – 8125 Hwy 71 South, Alexandria, LA 71302.
• If you are from Calcasieu Parish and need transportation to the Mega Shelter, please call 211 to find out your options.
3. You can stay with a local friend or family member.
4. If you have insurance, you can reach out to them about temporary lodging
5. If you have received FEMA money for emergency lodging, you can look into short-term rentals such as apartments.”
A collaboration between the three largest legal aid organizations in Texas – Lone Star Legal Aid, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid – designed to improve the mobilization of pro bono volunteers during and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster; leveraging technology to meet legal needs in emergencies more effectively.
Learn more about the gendered dimensions to disaster with this resource guide from the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/risk-disaster-reduction/research/centre-gender-and-disaster/resources