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Free legal services for Sandy victims

Neighbors Joe Valentino, left and Chaim Lazarus survey

Neighbors Joe Valentino, left and Chaim Lazarus survey the damage to New Hampshire St. Residents of Long Beach work to recover during the aftermath of Sandy. (Nov. 4, 2012) Credit: Jeremy Bales

The New York Legal Assistance Group, which provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals throughout Long Island, has launched a new program to assist those hurt by superstorm Sandy.

“We’ve identified 25 sites within Nassau and Suffolk counties at which individuals affected by the storm can receive free legal consultation and representation,” said Yisroel Schulman, the group’s president.

Legal services include help with landlord-tenant issues over the habitability of apartments, denials of private insurance claims, as well as advice on loan modifications and foreclosure due to damage by or loss of income from the storm.

Lawyers will also assist individuals or nonprofit organizations with applying for FEMA assistance, which has a Jan. 28 deadline, Schulman said.

To set up a free meeting with a lawyer, call NYLAG at 212-584-3365 or email

The program, which launched about two weeks ago, also includes a mobile legal help center that will be used two days each week in such locations as Bethpage, Wantagh and Lindenhurst.

“We park it in a strategic area and people come into the van and there are three law offices,” Schulman said. “We can do live video conferencing with a judge to obtain emergency orders.”

The legal group’s storm response initiative was funded by The Robin Hood Foundation and UJA-Federation of New York with an initial funding amount of $2 million, Schulman said. The funding allowed NYLAG to hire more than 20 full-time attorneys with expertise in relevant legal matters, as well as bilingual paralegals for the storm response unit.

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