In an effort to help judges, clerks, aides and other court employees whose homes and property were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association has given $25,000 in donations to the court system's Court Families Assistance Fund. The relief fund is a partnership with the Center for Court Innovation and the Fund for the City of New York to assist more than 700 Sandy-affected state court workers. It was originally set up in 2001 and raised more than $400,000 for families impacted by the 9/11 terror attacks.
Post-Sandy, it has raised about $100,000, according to the Office of Court Administration, mainly through small, individual contributions. The trial lawyers' gift is the second of its size: the Municipal Credit Union of New York City also donated $25,000. "There is still a great need among people who lost their homes in the hurricane," said Ronald Younkins, the courts' executive director. "But we've raised a substantial amount and I think what we've raised will assist those in need."
Among court employees affected by the storm were 274 families in Nassau County, 149 in Queens, 81 in Brooklyn, 80 on Staten Island, and 75 in Suffolk County. Several are still displaced as their homes undergo repairs. Families can begin applying for aid next week when an application form is posted on the court system's website. The fund is still accepting donations at www.nycourts.gov/fcny/.