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The Justice Center News blog features our advocacy on issues affecting low-income New Yorkers today and the latest CBJC happenings.  For press releases, click here. For publications, click here.

Justice Center Mobilizes Clinics in the Rockaways for Hurricane Sandy Victims

by CBJC Staff November 19, 2012

This past weekend the City Bar Justice Center mobilized around 30 trained pro bono lawyers to staff clinics at two sites on both Saturday and Sunday in the storm-ravaged Rockaways.  The volunteers gave brief advice to 59 clients and provided information to additional people who stopped by with basic questions.

The main issues of concern were  FEMA applications, insurance claims, disaster unemployment assistance,  landlord and tenant problems, lack of repairs, no electricity, heat or hot water and simply no income or way to get to work.  There is a huge amount of clearing out of damaged basements still going on in the Rockaways.  While some buses are running again and there is mail delivery, many people are still without electricity. There are vast burned-out areas.

The lawyers were at two sites: a vacant lot across from the ‘Veggie Island’ shop, and the YANA community center, which housed a very efficient Occupy Sandy operation that had giant solar panels supplying electricity to the neighbors. The Occupy Sandy folks were extremely helpful in directing clients to the legal clinics.

The volunteer attorneys were from firms including Alston & Bird, Blank Rome, Covington Burling, Gibson Dunn, Kelley Drye, Klein Zelman, Simpson Thacher, and Wilson Elsner, as well as groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights and Central American Legal Assistance.

The Justice Center thanks the volunteer attorneys for their great work: Gayle Argon, Heather Axford, Sitso Bediako, Rachel Beller, Caroline Bishop, Kenneth L. Bressler, Alejandra Diaz, Elizabeth Doisy, Selina M. Ellis, Debra Gordon, Andrew Hambelton, Ryan F. Harsch, Beth D. Jacob, Emma Jones, Jasmine Kaufman, Jeffrey Lieberman, Serena G. Liu, Esmeralda Musailov, Lois Ottombrino, Elizabeth Plimpton, Jude Rickman, Mustafa Rizvi, Joe Ronca, Dan Shim, Sophia Solovyova, Kathleen T. Sullivan, Emily Weinig, and Mia M. White.

The Justice Center is reaching out to the rest of the public interest legal community to organize regular staffing at the FEMA site in the Rockaways at 114th Street, and clinics at YANA for the volunteers.  Stay tuned for details on the next clinic.
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