As a result of the recent flooding in Arkansas, agencies are offering free disaster legal assistance to people who were affected by the recent floods.

The Arkansas Bar and the Young Lawyers’ Section, in conjunction with FEMA, the Arkansas Emergency Management Agency, the American Bar Association, Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Arkansas Access to Justice, Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association and Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel will provide legal assistance.

Flood survivors may call the toll-free number at 1-800-950-5817, according to a news release.

FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance is available to Arkansas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding between May 21 and ending June 14.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, Lincoln, and Yell counties.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Local legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys will be available to help with the following:

• Assistance securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;

• Assistance with life, medical, and property insurance claims;

• Help with home repair contracts and contractors;

• Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster;

• Consumer protection to guard against price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process;

• Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and

• Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

Flood victims may call the toll-free number and a volunteer lawyer will respond by telephone to answer their legal questions. The goal is to assist as many individuals affected by the floods as possible.

Beware of Fraud

Both FEMA and the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office urge Arkansans to be aware of the risk of fraud and common scams in the wake of severe weather. Common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, and fake offers of state or federal aid. Arkansans are urged to ask questions and to require identification when someone claims to represent a government agency.

Those who suspect fraud can call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 (toll-free). Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement.

For free legal assistance, flood survivors may call the toll-free number at 1-800-950-5817,