Free Legal Help Available for Disaster Survivors

SACRAMENTO – Free help with disaster-related legal concerns is available to eligible wildfire survivors in Butte, Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

Survivors may seek no-cost aid with wildfire-related legal issues by calling the disaster legal services hotline at (888) 382-3406. Help is available in several languages. The program is a partnership between FEMA and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

Types of free legal assistance that may be available from a volunteer lawyer include:

  • Help securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors;
  • Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
  • Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
  • Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the wildfires;
  • Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures;
  • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems;
  • Counseling on landlord-tenant problems;
  • Referral to other attorneys and organizations for help with additional legal matters; and
  • COVID-19 resources.

Free disaster legal services are not allowed for cases that will produce a monetary award.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.

For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. TTY users may also call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visit SBA at SBA.gov/disaster.

Alyson Hanner

Alyson Hanner joined the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in 2020 after working nearly 20 years in the broadcast news industry. Since joining Cal OES, she has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the historic 2020 wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, she served as managing editor at local television stations in San Diego and Sacramento.

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