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SLLS wants to hear from the community it serves. We need your input for our latest study of the biggest legal needs facing low-income people in our area.
Please take a few minutes for these quick surveys. Each one takes about three minutes. You can do any or all of them. SLLS needs and values this data.
If you use a computer, you may need to press “CTRL” while clicking a link. You may need to paste a link into a browser window.
Our online application is temporarily down, but we are still accepting applications for legal help. You can apply by calling us at 1-844-244-7871 or walking into one of our offices. There is a list of our offices here.
Here are three important things you need to remember:
You can call (225) 346-4119 to talk about trailers with FEMA.
If you qualify, you can get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS).
To apply for help, you can:
Other Online Disaster Legal Resources:
To stay up to date with news and deadlines, visit our blog: https://slls.org/blog/
From August 24 - September 1, 2023 SLLS will modify its operations due to mandatory staff training.
From August 24 - 25, 2023 SLLS will be open for emergency intakes only for evictions with court dates for our Orleans Parish Right to Counsel program and Child in Need of Care (CINC) cases.
From August 28 - August 30, 2023 all SLLS offices will be closed to the public. Help desks, outreach events, legal clinics, and eviction desks will not be staffed during this time.
SLLS will reopen from August 31 - September 1, 2023 for emergency intakes, including evictions, urgent legal deadlines (within seven days), Child in Need of Care (CINC) cases, and protective orders.
Normal operations will resume on September 5th.
Online applications will not be accepted at this time. For emergency assistance, call 1-844-244-2871.
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) extends this Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Consultant to conduct a Compensation Analysis. The Consultant will work with SLLS’ management and Board of Directors Personnel Committee.
SLLS is a nonprofit tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization that provides high quality legal assistance to people with low-income in civil matters. SLLS serves clients in twenty-two parishes in southeast Louisiana from seven office (Baton Rouge, Covington, Gretna, Hahnville, Hammond, Houma, and New Orleans). SLLS works to remove barriers to opportunity, ensuring access to shelter, economic security, safety and health through direct legal representation in civil cases, policy advocacy, and community legal education. SLLS has 160+ employee of which about 70% are lawyers and engages hundreds of volunteer attorneys and dozens of law students every year.
Pre-pandemic and prior to 2021’s catastrophic Hurricane Ida, SLLS had about 100 team members on staff. We now have about 165 staff working from seven offices, staff embedded onsite with other partners such as hospitals, medical clinics, homeless shelters, domestic violence victim service centers, community colleges, and robust pro bono partnerships. We have almost 100 different funding sources though LSC funding is about 45% of our budget with another almost 30% from the Louisiana Bar Foundation.
Under SLLS’ current leadership, its salary scale was refreshed in 2018, 2020, and 2022 with a $2,000 lump sum salary supplement for all staff in 2023. Excluding its leadership positions which are off the salary scale, SLLS has three primary position types – Managing Attorneys, Staff Attorneys, and Support Staff. There is a maximum starting salary for new hires up to 15 years of experience. SLLS has annual steps of $1,800 for attorneys and $800 for support staff. The steps have not been changed in over a decade. SLLS removed caps on annual steps for staff after 10 years of employment in 2021 to prevent staff from getting maxed out on their annual salary.
SLLS wishes to conduct an analysis of salaries and benefits including comparison to the nonprofit and government sector for the local market. The goal of this project is to ensure that SLLS’ compensation package remains competitive to attract and retain staff, is respectful and supportive of staff, is an appropriate use of resources, and reflects SLLS’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Under SLLS’ current leadership, our salary scale was developed in 2018 and refreshed based on an internally conducted salary scale study in 2020 and 2022. SLLS has provided a one-time lump sum salary supplement of $2,000 for all staff irrespective of position in 2023. The key elements of SLLS’ current salary structure are:
SLLS seeks a consultant to:
The planned timeline for this project is:
Note: Timeline is subject to change based on SLLS and consultant schedules. Recommendations may be delivered in stages including Stage 1 -Salary Scale recommendations Stage 2 – Recommendations for Step Increases Stage 3- Benefits Review Stage 4- Recommendations to Incentivize Longevity
Responses to this Request for Proposal should be no longer than 8 pages long (shorter proposals are welcome) and include the following:
SLLS may elect to schedule interviews with potential consultants prior to awarding a final contract. Please include contact information for scheduling purposes in the RFP.
Proposals will be evaluated upon the contractor’s responsiveness to the RFP, qualifications, demonstrated experience with similar projects, and total price quoted for all items covered by the RFP. Award of the contract resulting from the RFP will be based upon the most responsive contract that is most advantageous to SLLS in terms of cost, functionality, experience, and quality of past work.
SLLS ideally seeks a firm that understands its needs as a nonprofit and legal services organization and is invested in our mission of achieving justice and social change by fighting poverty.
SLLS reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals and to waive any minor discrepancies or technicalities in the proposal or specifications, when deemed to be in the best interest of SLLS. We also reserve the right to negotiate with all respondents to the RFP and reject any or all offers and discontinue this RFP process without obligation or liability to any respondent.
SLLS will not pay any costs associated with preparing proposals in response to this RFP.
You can download the request for proposals here.
The 23rd JDC Bar Association is looking for volunteers to help staff their Self-Help Resource Center at the 23rd Judicial District Court on the 1st Thursday of every month. You can find more information about the Self-Help Desk here. If you're interested in volunteering, contact Janeane Abbott at Janeane@abbottprescott.com or 225-406-7474.
Landlords sometimes use tenant screening reports to check if applicants have:
If you’re denied housing because of a tenant screening report, ask the landlord why you were denied and the name of the company that made the report.
If you need help fixing wrong or missing information in your tenant screening report, we may be able to help you. Call us at 504-529-1000 ext. 223.
Do you rent a house or apartment in New Orleans? The City of New Orleans’ new Healthy Homes law will help ensure your unit is fit to live in.
Starting on July 1, 2023, renters can ask for repairs without worrying that their landlords will get back at them, thanks to the new Healthy Homes Law. The New Orleans City Council passed the law in November 2022.
The law makes landlords take steps to make their rental properties safe and healthy, starting January 1, 2024. Landlords who own big apartment complexes are the first to register their properties with the city. If they don't make the needed repairs, they might not be able to rent their properties anymore.
Starting July 1, 2023, your landlord can’t get back at you for doing any of these things:
Here are two examples of how the new law may apply to real-life problems with your landlord.
You ask for repairs or report a problem, and within six (6) months, the landlord tries to raise your rent or take away services. The Healthy Homes law says this is illegal retaliation. There are some key exceptions.
Your landlord’s actions would not be illegal if one of these things is true:
How to use the Healthy Homes law to protect yourself: If the landlord does not follow the Healthy Homes law, you might need to go to court to ask a Judge to rule that the rent increase or other things the landlord did are illegal.
You ask for repairs or report a problem, and within six (6) months, the landlord tries to evict you or refuse to renew your lease. The Healthy Homes law says this is illegal retaliation. There are some key exceptions.
Your landlord’s actions would not be illegal if one of these things is true:
Under the Healthy Homes law, it is not a violation of your lease to stay in your apartment past the date your landlord has asked you to leave after giving you a notice of nonrenewal.
How to use the Healthy Homes law to protect yourself: You can use Healthy Homes to defend yourself in eviction court. That does not mean a judge will do as you ask. If you are facing eviction, try to get legal help.
All renters in New Orleans have a right to an attorney in eviction court. If you get an eviction notice, try to find legal help right away. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) gives free legal assistance to people who qualify. Reach SLLS at 1340 Poydras St., Suite 600, (504) 529-1000 x.223.
The Healthy Homes law only protects a renter who can prove they told the landlord about the problems in the unit. Always tell the landlord about problems in writing, like email or text message, and keep copies for your records.
In January 2024, landlords must begin registering their units with the City of New Orleans. First, larger apartment complexes will have to register. Later, smaller properties will have to register. The landlord does not pay to do this – it is free.
Landlords listing their rentals must swear that the properties are fit to live in under the City’s rules. Landlords also swear this knowing that it is a crime to lie.
There is a new list of things a landlord must do to ensure the rental is safe and in good shape called the Minimum Rental Standards.
In 2024 rental units in New Orleans must have everything listed here:
The New Orleans Minimum Property Maintenance Code protects you now. It lists what landlords must do to keep their rentals in shape. These rules will still apply on top of the new rules for 2024.
You can read more here: New Orleans Municipal Code (Article IV, Sections. 26-156 through 26-230).
The City plans to hire more people to inspect rentals and respond to complaints to enforce Healthy Homes.
The City can act against a landlord if a unit does not meet the new Minimum Rental Standards in 2024.
First, the City might allow the landlord to fix the problem. If the landlord does not fix the problem, the City will hold a hearing.
The Hearing Officer may make the landlord pay a fine or take other action against a landlord with repair issues or problems that do not meet the new rules.
The City can also take away the landlord’s right to rent the apartment if the unit is unsafe and the landlord will not fix it.
The Healthy Homes law says you will get a written notice if the landlord loses their right to rent your apartment. You will have a chance to go to a hearing before being asked to move. You will get at least 60 days to move. There is an exception for emergencies.
A renter who has to move would also be eligible for assistance from the Anti-Displacement Fund once money is in that fund.
FEMA only charges by full months. FEMA will charge you for a whole month even if you leave in the middle of the month.
OPTION 1: MOVE OUT OF THE FEMA TRAILER
Schedule and prepare to move out by May 31, 2023
OPTION 2: APPEAL
File an appeal requesting a lowered rent amount
To avoid paying the higher rents, you must move out and surrender possession of the FEMA unit by May 31, 2023.
You can appeal and request that rent be lowered based on your household’s ability to pay:
Do not send your appeal through your FEMA online portal or to the FEMA fax line!
Things are being handled locally in Baton Rouge. You should send the documents here:
Attention: FEMA Direct Housing
1500 Main Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Have questions for FEMA? Call (225) 346-4119.
You can choose to pay the higher rent or continue paying the lower $50/month rent amount while waiting for the appeal.
However, if you lose, you will owe the difference back to FEMA. Your appeal outcome will be mailed and hand-delivered to you at the FEMA unit.
FEMA only charges for full months! Rent is never “prorated” by FEMA. FEMA will charge you for another month if you are late moving out or with an inspection. FEMA will charge you like you stayed the entire month.
National Disaster Legal Aid Resources Center at www.disasterlegalaid.org.
To remain current with this and other important updates or deadlines, please visit our blog: https://slls.org/blog/
The St. Tammany Parish Court (22nd JDC) has a 3-month traffic ticket amnesty program for people who received traffic tickets between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2022 and did not pay them. If you pay your old ticket through the program, the program will drop the late fees, fines, and warrants.
The program lasts from May 1, 2023 to July 31, 2023. Tickets received after January 1, 2023, are not eligible for this program. The program does not waive any fees you might owe to the DMV.
To make changes to your ticket, you should contact the Traffic Division of the District Attorney's Office. You will need to obtain two copies of your ticket from the Clerk of Court. Once you have your documents, the Clerk of Court will add an Amnesty Stamp to your ticket for approval.
To participate, you need to request an amendment of your ticket through the District Attorney's Office Traffic Division. You will need two copies of the ticket from the Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court will put an Amnesty Stamp on the ticket for approval.
After getting the amnesty stamp, go to the Sherriff's Office to pay for your ticket. After paying your fines and court costs, the Clerk of Court will remove any suspensions or attachments.
The Court can give you a letter for proof of payment to the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles if you have any holds of flags on your driver's license.
Updated May 1, 2023
Take Steps Now to Protect Your Medicaid.
This post is for people on Medicaid in Louisiana.
On April 1st, 2023, the state began checking to see if everyone on Medicaid can stay on the program.
It will take 12 months to finish checking. But people will start losing Medicaid this June.
Most people will still be eligible, if the agency can update their information.
People who update their information can also be reviewed for free or very low-cost private health insurance if they cannot keep Medicaid.
The state may need information from you to keep you on Medicaid. It may have to cut you off if it cannot reach you.
You must make sure Medicaid has good contact information for you.
You might not even get the notice that you are being cut off if Medicaid does not have your up-to-date address.
If you have questions about a letter from Medicaid, call Louisiana Medicaid Customer Service. The number is 1-888-342-6207. Phone line hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Or you can visit your nearest Medicaid office. Find the closest office using this link: https://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/158.
The letter will say near the end how to appeal the cut off.
A “fair hearing” is a way to appeal the cut off. It is free to ask for a fair hearing.
You also may be able to submit your information to the agency late, after the cutoff notice.
The fair hearing will happen over the phone with an administrative law judge. Medicaid will look at your case again before the hearing.
If you need help understanding any of this, try to find a lawyer. Louisiana has programs that offer free legal aid.
Any notice ending your Medicaid will list the free legal aid office that may be able to help you at the end.
For Southeast Louisiana, you can reach your local free legal aid program here: www.slls.org/contact-us/.
Update: You only need to have received $5,000 in home repair assistance from FEMA to qualify for Restore Louisiana! There are new Restore Mobile locations and events too!
Additionally, they are having in-person events. You can find information here: https://www.restore.la.gov/events
Am I eligible?
All these things must be true for you to get this aid:
For more information on eligibility and how the program works, refer to our previous blog post here: https://slls.org/restore-louisiana/