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2022 Disaster Resilience Awareness Month Recap

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In March 2022, Equal Justice Works teamed up with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD), American Red Cross, Legal Services Corporation (LSC), Pro Bono Net and DisasterLegalAid.org, to commemorate Disaster Resilience Awareness Month.

With the frequency and intensity of disasters increasing over the last few years, so too has the demand for lawyers who can help ensure an equitable recovery in disaster-affected communities. That’s why, we created Disaster Resilience Awareness Month—observed every March—as a collaborative effort to highlight the important role of lawyers in helping communities prepare for, recover from, and build resilience to disasters, as well as provide helpful resources for disaster survivors and lawyers.

This year during Disaster Resilience Awareness Month, Fellows in our Disaster Resilience Program shared their expertise, information on the legal services available to disaster survivors, and best practices for advocating on behalf of people who need help recovering from the legal effects of disasters. Fellows authored posts on:

How to Create a Disaster Preparedness Plan 

2020 Fellows Stephanie Duke at Disability Rights Texas and Maria F. Vazquez at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston shared tips on how to create a disaster preparedness plan, with special focus on resources available for immigrant and disability communities. Read their post here.

Legal Help After Wildfires

2021 Fellow Jordan Davis at Disability Rights California looked at how Californians with disabilities are often overlooked in the aftermath of disaster. Read the post here.

Extreme Heat

2021 Fellow Jacob Zarefsky wrote about extreme heat events being overlooked as a disaster and what California lawmakers are doing to address the devastating impact of extreme heat. Read about it here.

Housing

2021 Fellow Christopher Kerrigan shared his experience representing tenants in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and provided some practical tips for assisting tenants with their housing needs following a disaster. Read about it here.

FEMA

2020 Fellow Hannah Dyal of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid shared tips for practitioners handling FEMA appeals in the aftermath of a disaster. Read about it here.

In addition to these posts, Equal Justice Works staff member Touri Goode wrote about the impact of the first cohort of the Disaster Resilience Program, which included six Fellows who served from June 2020 to October 2021 in Texas and Florida. Read more here.

This year, we also partnered with ABA YLD to create a National Disaster Attorney Guidebook, an expansive resource on disaster lawyering. This guidebook is the first of its kind and contains an overview of the available disaster assistance under various state and federal laws, as well as information on how to ensure that legal assistance reaches low-income disaster survivors. Equal Justice Works hosted a webinar to introduce the resource and walk participants through the contents and how to use it.

Thanks to the generous support of all our partners, host organizations, and supporters who joined us in making Disaster Resilience Awareness Month 2022 a success. We look forward to finding new opportunities to raise awareness about the complex legal needs of disaster survivors and the important role that lawyers play in supporting communities with the resources they need to recover from disasters and be resilient for the future.

For more information about the Disaster Resilience Program, visit here. To view the National Disaster Attorney Guidebook, please visit here and here for the accessible version.

The Disaster Resilience Program is funded by the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and individual contributions. 

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow