Pro Bono Net is pleased to announce our new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) national trainings for lawyers and advocates nationwide. The webinars are not only for those currently working with survivors of climate-driven disasters, but also for advocates who may potentially support disaster survivors in the future. The trainings are designed in partnership with Legal Aid of Sonoma County and the Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative. It is supported by the Bigglesworth Family Foundation.
What will the trainings focus on?
After the President of the United States declares a major disaster, federal funds may be available through FEMA for individuals, families, and small businesses to recover. Many disaster survivors apply to access these funds, but they can be denied this assistance or not provided with enough assistance to recover. Disaster survivors have a right to appeal, but only a small percentage of them do.
The national trainings will focus on the process lawyers and other advocates working with survivors must follow if they want to appeal FEMA’s determination on disaster assistance. Attendees will also learn how to use Pro Bono Net’s bilingual FEMA appeals digital tool to create an appeal letter. The tool helps survivors to understand the appeals process, makes it easier to clearly articulate why the agency should reconsider its decision, and gives survivors a greater chance of obtaining the assistance they need to recover from the disaster. Over the past decade, the tool has helped over 14,000 survivors impacted by major climate disasters. All trainings will have closed captioning.
Who will present the trainings and when will they take place?
Pro Bono Net is conducting the trainings in partnership with Legal Aid of Sonoma County and the Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative. We will host a total of four trainings for different audiences starting in June 2023 and continuing through September 2023:
- Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 2:00 pm ET – “A Beginner’s Guide to Appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Assistance Decision,” will be open to community librarians, disaster case managers, staff and attorneys at legal aid organizations and pro bono programs, attorneys interested in doing pro bono work after a disaster, and advocates from long-term recovery groups nationwide. Register here.
- Tuesday, July 25, 2023, at 11:00 am PT – “A Beginner’s Guide to Appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Assistance Decision (California),” will cover the FEMA appeals process and include specific information for attorneys and other advocates working with California-based survivors. Register here.
- Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at 2:00 pm ET – “A Disability Rights Advocate’s Guide to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Assistance Appeals Process,” will include specific information that attorneys and advocates should know about when working on a FEMA appeal with a disaster survivor that has a disability. Register here.
- Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at 2:00 pm ET – “A Beginner’s Guide to Appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Assistance Decision (Spanish interpretation provided),” will be open to community librarians, disaster case managers, staff and attorneys at legal aid organizations and pro bono programs, attorneys interested in doing pro bono work after a disaster, and advocates from long-term recovery groups nationwide. Spanish interpretation will be provided. Register here.
Will the trainings be recorded?
Recordings and training materials will be posted to the Advocate Network of Advocate for Disaster Justice at www.advocatesfordisasterjustice.org. Access to the materials and recordings will require a log-in as a member, but membership is free. Learn more here.
About Pro Bono Net
Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit leader in building technology and collaborations that bring the power of the law to all. For over 20 years, Pro Bono Net and its programs have supported disaster recovery by connecting lawyers and equipping survivors with resources and self-advocacy tools. Learn more here.
About Advocates for Disaster Justice
Advocates for Disaster Justice, formerly DisasterLegalAid.org, is the largest national network of justice advocates and allies working to advance equity, rights and resilience in communities impacted by climate-driven and other disasters. Learn more here.
About Legal Aid of Sonoma County
Legal Aid of Sonoma County has provided services to Sonoma County’s indigent population for over 60 years. Founded in 1958 and incorporated in 1983 as a private nonprofit, Legal Aid provides crisis legal services to low-income families, children, elders, immigrants, and other vulnerable Sonoma County residents. Learn more here.
About the Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative
The Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative (DLAC) is a partnership of 27 organizations throughout the state that includes legal aid organizations, law firms, government agencies, local bar associations, and social services providers. Our mission is to deliver free legal assistance to all those impacted by disasters throughout California. DLAC recruits and trains volunteer attorneys to provide free legal assistance and resources to disaster survivors through its call-in Helpline, online platform Free Legal Answers, disaster preparedness outreach, and Title Clearing Program. Learn more here.
About the Bigglesworth Family Foundation
The Bigglesworth Family Foundation supports programs and projects that help create systemic change by strengthening the capacity of non-profit organizations and addressing delivery system and historic challenges. Learn more here.