The House of Representatives on Jan. 15 rejected a measure that would have stripped $1 million in aid for legal services from a $51 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill. The $1 million will go to the Legal Services Corporation, a non-profit created by Congress to provide civil legal assistance to the needy. LSC will disburse the money to legal services groups in areas that were hit hard by the storm, including Legal Services NYC and Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee Inc. LSC has not yet determined exactly how the money will be disbursed, according to Raun Rassmussen, executive director of Legal Services NYC.
The funding will be used to provide legal services to people who need help getting access to emergency aid, people who cannot live in their homes, people who can no longer pay their mortgages because of lost income and others facing legal challenges because of the storm, according to Rassmussen. Much of the money will be used to coordinate volunteer efforts, he said.
Jeffrey Duncan, R-S.C., introduced a rider that would have stripped the legal services funding from the aid package. 190 Democrats and 26 Republicans voted against the rider, while 201 Republicans and one Democrat voted for it. The $51 billion aid package follows a $9 billion aid package limited to flood relief passed last year.