The past few months have been a whirlwind for SLLS. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our community has been devastating, and widespread. Our housing caseload has tripled, and as COVID relief programs end thousands of families are at-risk of becoming homeless. We’ve seen a 670% increase in requests for legal help with unemployment benefits, as many suddenly out of work families who never thought they would need civil legal aid are reaching out for our assistance. As we saw with Hurricane Katrina, this is only the beginning of a long crisis.
Everyday our team is fighting for the rights of some of our community’s most vulnerable families. I am proud of the work they have accomplished in the midst of crisis. Thank you for your support in making the fight for fairness possible.
SLLS Receives COVID-19 Relief Fund Donations for Critical Legal Aid
We were one of only 25 recipients of Hancock Whitney’s COVID-19 housing relief funds, aimed to keep vulnerable families across the Gulf South in their homes during the pandemic. Their generous donation will help cover the cost of an attorney providing legal assistance for evictions and rental assistance for 140 low income families impacted by COVID-19.
We are thrilled to be recent recipients of Humana Medicaid’s COVID-19 Relief Fund! With these funds, our new COVID-19 Intake Specialist will streamline our processes to meet the increased community need for our services in these unprecedented times. We are grateful to have Humana as a partner in the ongoing work to make our community a healthier and safer place for all its members.
Virtual Legal Clinics with New Orleans Public Library
We are excited to announce our new partnership with the New Orleans Public Library to host free virtual legal clinics twice a month with a focus on assisting low-income families and individuals with civil legal issues, including evictions, landlord-tenant disputes, federal tax issues, employment, public benefits, foreclosures, bankruptcies and divorces.
The clinic is held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. Library users can sign up to be screened for an appointment online here, or call the Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center at (504) 596-2660 or Nora Navra Library at (504) 596-3118, from 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The SLLS Team is Growing!
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have welcomed 10 new staff members to our team. We are excited about the skills and expertise they are bringing to the table to help us meet the moment for vulnerable families in our community. You can learn more about our new staff, and their roles on the SLLS Blog.
SLLS Hosts Two Prestigious Summer Fellowships
Auriana Siplin, a Southern University Law Center student, was selected for Equal Justice Work’s Rural Summer Legal Corps (RSLC). The program connects Student Fellows with LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to help address the access-to-justice crisis for people living in rural areas. Auriana has been working with our Baton Rouge office on rural community outreach. You can learn more about the RSLC here.
James Petersen was selected as one of three John J. Curtin, Jr. Fellowship recipients this summer. The fellowship is designed to prevent homelessness, or assist homeless or indigent clients or their advocates and provide much-needed legal assistance to organizations serving the under-represented. James has been working with our legal clinic at One Stop Homeless Services Center in Baton Rouge. You can learn more about the Curtin Fellowship here.
Thank You Summer Law Clerks!
For the past few months SLLS has hosted 32 summer law clerks from Loyola, Tulane, and Southern. They served remotely this summer, working with our attorneys to serve clients and gain practical legal experience. They did a wonderful job adjusting to the remote working experience, and we are grateful for their service!