Eighteen legal services and counseling groups will receive $732,000 from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to assist homeowners struggling to maintain and repair their homes after Hurricane Sandy. The groups are helping victims throughout Queens, Kings, Richmond, Nassau and Suffolk counties. "The funds are intended to increase staff capacity to address the higher volume of clients as a result of Sandy," said Schneiderman's spokeswoman Michelle Hook. The additional money went to groups already backed by an existing Homeowner Protection Program.
Ten legal services groups will receive $46,620 each: South Brooklyn Legal Services, the Nassau County Bar Association, Nassau Suffolk Law Services, the Queens Volunteer Lawyers' Project, the Legal Aid Society, the City Bar Justice Center, MFY Legal Services, the New York Legal Assistance Group, Staten Island Legal Services and Queens Legal Services. Housing agencies will get $33,300 each.
According to the attorney general, the groups have assisted homeowners with improper denials of insurance claims, long delays collecting benefits, and insurance payments that are much less than what homeowners need to repair storm damage. Schneiderman's Homeowner Protection Program, announced last fall before Sandy hit, pledges to grant $60 million over three years to housing and legal services groups helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. Before the most recent grant, $20 million in state aid has been distributed to 35 legal services organizations and 59 housing counseling agencies.