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Legal assistance offered to victims of flooding in Pa.

August 14, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County, Pa., was one of more than 20 Pennsylvania counties selected to receive federal assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help businesses and people affected by flooding in June.

Now, victims also will be able to receive legal assistance in dealing with problems or concerns caused by the flooding.

As of Thursday, 408 county residents had received $556,661 in housing assistance and $19,020 for other needs, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. Franklin County was one of 22 counties designated to receive Individual Assistance. The designations allow federal funds to be used to aid disaster-affected households with disaster-assistance grants and loans, according to a written release.

Franklin County was one of 25 counties approved for Public Assistance funds, officials said. The program provides assistance for work, including debris removal, emergency protective measures and the restoration of infrastructure to pre-disaster conditions.

Nearly 11,000 Pennsylvanians have registered for disaster assistance for help with damage caused by the storms. More than $16 million has gone to Pennsylvania flood victims for housing and other needs through the Individuals and Households Program.

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Volunteer attorneys will be offering free, disaster-related legal assistance to low-income residents affected by the flooding from the late-June storms, the release states.

The Young Lawyers Division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, in collaboration with FEMA, will offer legal counseling and referrals to Pennsylvania disaster victims.

Advice will be available to assist on issues such as:

· Insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills, loss of property or loss of life.

· Replacing wills, drafting powers of attorney and other legal documents lost.

· Help with home-repair contracts and contractors.

· Landlord/tenant issues.

For details, call 800-932-0311, ext. 2224. The service is available 24 hours a day from today through Sept. 28.

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