SVdP Disaster Services Corporation CEO, Elizabeth Disco-Shearer recently attended the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) of America’s Access to Justice Forum. The forum was aimed at advocating for more legal aid dollars in disaster aid and increased services to affected families without ready access to legal services.
During the forum, Elizabeth gained insight into the lives of individual cases that had faced numerous roadblocks, from getting evicted by slumlords who did not want to make repairs, to losing their minimum wage jobs when their transportation was lost or destroyed. The panelists discussed the work they were doing to make changes both legislatively and in corporate America, but they all highlighted that families living at or below the federal poverty level faced many issues in their recovery. They emphasized that it was important not to judge people for not having flood insurance, car insurance, or renter’s insurance, and to avoid looking at survivors through our own life lenses.
After the panel, a reception was held at the Supreme Court, Elizabeth had the opportunity to network with various decision-makers and share the work of SVdP and DSC. Elizabeth said the experience was eye-opening and helped shed light on the challenges faced by families living in poverty. It really made it clear how important the work being done is to helping them access legal services. DSC often uses local Legal Aid Services across the country to help disaster survivors with appeals to FEMA, especially when it comes to proof of home ownership.