“The real test of legal aid’s capacity will come after the rain stops.”
Dear NAPABA Members,
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by the terrible storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. While we are stunned by the images and stories coming out of the region, we are inspired by the compassion and sense of community on display.
NAPABA and our Texas affiliates, the Austin Asian American Bar Association, the Asian American Bar Association of Houston, and the Dallas Asian American Bar Association; the South Asian Bar Association of Houston; and the Louisiana Asian Pacific American Bar Association are working with community leaders to assist with the recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We recognize that this is a time for the legal community to step up and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our colleagues and communities in the region during the long recovery ahead.
To assist attorneys and community members find resources and information for the Asian Pacific American community, we have established Hurricane Harvey disaster relief toolkit to direct you to information and opportunities to engage with legal services organizations.
We encourage you to direct all requests for assistance to the Texas legal aid organizations via the Texas state disaster relief helpline: 1-800-504-7030.
The State Bar of Texas has established a database for volunteer attorneys who wish to provide services to victims. By special order of the Texas Supreme Court, out-of-state attorneys may practice in Texas if they are volunteering to serve hurricane victims, subject to conditions such as working through a legal aid program. Due to the situation on the ground, out-of-state attorneys are encouraged to sign up to receive information before attempting to travel to the Houston-area. Attorneys in Houston are encouraged to sign-up to volunteer through Houston Volunteer Lawyers.
We expect that there will be a need for bilingual attorneys in many languages, particularly those who speak the following Asian languages: Cambodian, Chinese (multiple dialects needed), Gujarati, Hindi, Hmong, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Vietnamese, and others. We also expect there will be a significant need for volunteers with knowledge of federal benefits, claims, immigration, and/or insurance law.
Due to the nature of the disaster, these communities will need sustained help that last months and years. It is our hope that communities across the region receive the legal assistance they will need and that Asian Pacific American attorneys join those in service. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with local legal organizations to provide you with opportunities to assist the community.
The Hurricane Harvey disaster relief toolkit will be continuously updated with additional resources and projects. If you have additional resources to share, please email Navdeep Singh, policy director, at [email protected].