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Free legal aid now available for West Texans affected by the wildfires

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Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2011 9:36 am

West Texas residents who suffered damages as a result of recent wildfires may receive free legal assistance from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) to get back on their feet.

"Disasters such as wildfires can trigger a variety of legal issues," said Tracy Figueroa, an attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. "TRLA can help wildfire victims navigate those issues so that they receive the support they need to recover."

In the aftermath of a disaster, residents often encounter a variety of legal issues including denials of insurance claims, problems with a landlord or mortgage company, and price gouging.

Residents may also need legal assistance to replace copies of important legal documents and as they try to obtain disaster-related unemployment or public benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security.

Residents who need legal help may call TRLA's toll-free disaster assistance hotline at 1-866-757-1570. The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday and features a voice-mail system that allows callers to leave their information when lines are busy or calls are unanswered. TRLA staff will return calls as soon as possible.

"People do not need to go through this process alone," Figueroa said. "TRLA is here to give West Texans the legal support they need."

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area.

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