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Katrina Clinic reaches milestone

February 6, 2009

The Katrina Clinic section of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law recently reached a significant milestone for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Under the leadership of staff attorney Davida Finger, volunteer University of Washington law student Salmun Kazerounian and community outreach member Audrey Stewart, the clinic, through appeal assistance, has helped Louisiana homeowners collect more than $1 million wrongfully denied to them by Louisiana’s Road Home Program.

The Katrina Clinic originated in the fall of 2005 when the College of Law and its Law Clinic were displaced in Houston, Texas. There, clinic student workers and faculty, in association with Lone Star Legal Aid and the University of Houston, worked in disaster relief centers to assist those displaced by Katrina. Since the spring of 2006, the Katrina Clinic has operated from the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

The Road Home Program was launched in August 2006 to help Louisiana residents get back into their homes as quickly as possible, but some homeowners, including the low-income clients served by the clinic, were denied grant benefits and given insufficient amounts to rebuild. The clinic has helped those clients navigate Road Home red tape and policies.

“Our community members deserve the full benefit of the federal funds that were sent to Louisiana for rebuilding,” Finger explained.

Finger has written a detailed paper on the clinic’s experiences with the Road Home Program, which includes testimonials from local residents the clinic has assisted. “Stranded and Squandered: Lost on the Road Home,” will be published this semester in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice Vol. 7, Issue 1.

For more information, contact Davida Finger at (504) 861-5596.

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