JUN 9— AARP Pennsylvania and SeniorLAW Center announced a new initiative to help older Pennsylvanians navigate legal issues following the extreme devastation caused by Hurricane Ida last year. Ida plowed a path of destruction across the Northeast, bringing record rainfall, spawning tornados, and causing major flooding. The storm killed 95 people in the United States, with five in Pennsylvania, and caused billions of dollars in property damage.
In the storm’s aftermath, many survivors have been displaced from their homes and are struggling with mortgage foreclosures, landlord disputes, physical and financial abuse from changed housing or financial circumstances, disaster-related fraud, exploitation and scams, confusing insurer and FEMA claims, and a lack of adequate information about their options after the hurricane.
With the generous support of AARP Foundation, SeniorLAW Center will target legal services in areas across Pennsylvania most affected by Hurricane Ida. By calling the SeniorLAW HelpLine at 1-877-PA SR LAW (1-877-727-7529), survivors 60 and older can get free legal advice and referrals in all 67 counties. In addition, the Center will provide legal representation for older people affected by Hurricane Ida living in the greater Philadelphia 5-county region (and in York County on a case-by-case basis).
“Older adults are disproportionately impacted by the immediate and long-term consequences of natural disasters, including detrimental effects on their financial and physical health. However, their unique needs are often hidden,” said Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. “AARP Pennsylvania thanks the AARP Foundation for their generous support as we work alongside the SeniorLAW Center who continues to deliver vital legal aid to older adults still struggling with the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida.”
Karen Buck, Executive Director of SeniorLAW Center agrees. “Hurricane Ida, in particular, has imposed major burdens on Pennsylvania seniors, many of which can be addressed through the power of the law,” said Buck. “We have a responsibility to ensure that their rights are protected and that older adults have the legal advocates and support they need during what can be the hardest time of their lives.”
This collaboration builds on a strong relationship between AARP and SeniorLAW Center spanning several decades. The two organizations have previously worked together to advocate for voting rights, pro bono partnerships, grandparents’ rights, and funding for home and community-based programs to prevent elder abuse, financial exploitation, and senior poverty.
For more information about legal services provided by SeniorLAW Center through the Legal Help for Older Survivors of Hurricane Ida project, contact project lead Vilna Gaston at 215-701-3207 or visit: https://seniorlawcenter.org/projects/hurricane-ida/