In the wake of COVID-19, Legal Aid is needed now more than ever to address issues related to unemployment, housing issues, public benefits, and domestic violence. We know how important it is that we remain accessible to our clients during this pandemic, and we continue to take cases and help clients (safely from our homes). On this page, we’ve compiled information about how Legal Aid is addressing this crisis and resources for those who are impacted. Check back for up-to-date information.
Wills for Nurses
In response to the COVID-19 crisis and in honor of the bravery of our nurses and nurse technicians working tirelessly to keep our community healthy and healing, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, in partnership with the law firm, Nelson Mullins, has created the Wills for Nurses Project. The project will provide Atlanta-based nurses and nurse technicians with free, remote legal assistance by offering simple wills and medical directives. You can apply here: http://bit.ly/atlwillsfornurses
Unemployment applications can be submitted online here: https://dol.georgia.gov/
Eligibility for food stamps/SNAP has been expanded during this emergency. Apply for food stamps/Medicaid online here: https://gateway.ga.gov/
To find food pantries in your area, text FINDFOOD (one word, no space) or COMIDA to 888-976-2232.
What We’re Doing
We are continuing to serve our clients, safely from home, including by launching an online intake system for the first time. In the first week of our remote operation, we saw nearly normal intake numbers and our teams continued to take on new cases.
We are surveying the types of issues we are seeing, to be better prepared for the influx of cases we expect to see from this crisis. See the full list of issues below to get a better understanding of Legal Aid’s role in addressing this crisis.
We are creating resources to educate the public and spread awareness, including short videos that offer guidance on where people should go to address their particular legal issue. See the embedded videos below, as well as a link to a full resource guide.
We are working with partner agencies to widen our impact and help as many people as possible.
We are talking with the press to amplify awareness of the issues our clients face during this time. See Legal Aid in the press in the links below.
- Efforts to Pause Evictions Sow Confusion Among Renters in Era of Coronavirus
- USA’s top Law Group Hopes to Limit Legal Harm to the Poor
- Extended Stay Motel Residents on Brink of Homelessness Amid COVID-19
- Better Call Harry: What You Need to Know About Evictions
- What happens if you can’t afford your rent during Coronavirus shutdown?
- What tenants need to know about evictions during the pandemic
- Atlanta Legal Aid’s Great Whiskey Debate Goes Virtual
- Groups ask Kemp to protect homeowners & tenants
- Mystery ‘sheriff’ evicts couple from extended stay during COVID-19 crisis
- Renters Are Being Forced From Their Homes Despite Eviction Moratoriums Meant to Protect Them
- Despite Federal Ban, Landlords Are Still Moving to Evict People During the Pandemic
- GOP Governors Will Push Workers off Unemployment by Reopening Early
- How Atlanta Courts are Managing During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Thousands of Renters Facing Homelessness Because of COVID-19
- How to Protect Yourself if You’re Forced to Return to Work
- Renters, landlords face uncomfortable as quarantines continue
- Laid-off workers may have to give up unemployment benefits as states reopen
- Atlanta Legal Aid Responds to Rise in Need
- Atlanta Legal Aid Expects a Rise in Evictions, Domestic Violence Cases During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Some States Let Vulnerable Workers Turn Down Jobs
- Why Extended-Stay Hotel Evictions May Not Be Legal
- 30 Million Unemployment Claims Filed in Last Six Weeks
- Nearly 3 million Americans Filed for Unemployment Last Week
- “We Can’t Take Your Call”: Gig Workers Struggle for Unemployment
- Amid pandemic, Georgia consumers could see bank accounts garnished
- Budget cuts for mental health, disabilities alarm patient advocates
- Essential Justice: Lawyers in the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Many Fear Looming Homelessness Crisis
- Thousands of eviction cases still on hold across metro Atlanta
- Landlords Jump the Gun as Eviction Moratorium Wanes
- Tenants Must Respond To Eviction Notices To Get Hearings
- Data Brokers May Report COVID-19 Related Evictions for Years
- Amid pandemic, state’s mental health agency has extensive layoffs
- Eviction hearings quietly resuming across Metro Atlanta
- US braces for evictions crisis as aid talks stall in Washington
- As Evictions Loom, Lawyers Are Gearing Up to Help
- As Federal Eviction Protections Expire, Tenants In Metro Atlanta Feel the Effect
- Nearly 400k Georgians could face eviction as protections run out, experts say
- Thousands of Georgians facing eviction with CARES Act expiration
- Many could soon face eviction as moratorium ends
- Backlog of Appeals for Unemployment Benefits Collides with Georgia Evictions
- “Nos sacaron primero a nosotros”: Hispano cuenta la dramática situación tras ser desalojado de su vivienda
- New federal ban on evictions could have far-reaching impacts in metro Atlanta
- CBS46 solves one man’s extended stay nightmare
- Latest eviction moratorium requires a signed form
- Families forced out of extended stay motel in south DeKalb as activists sound alarm
- As Property Values Rise In Atlanta, So Does the Exploitation of Black Homeowners
- The Evictions Crisis Is a Mental Health Crisis Too
- How does the Federal Eviction Moratorium Work? It Depends Where You Live
- Millions without unemployment benefits amid economic fallout
- U.S. evictions surge amid pandemic despite federal ban
- Group protests conditions, evictions at complex
- Extended stay motel facing lawsuit from residents
- A deal that changed lives – but not for all
- New grant aims to keep Atlantans threatened by eviction housed
- Georgia couple facing eviction as housing protections expire
- Falling behind on weekly rent and afraid of being evicted
- Evicted During the Pandemic
- Unemployed workers sue Georgia Labor department to speed up payments
- Georgians sue Department of Labor, commissioner over ‘extreme delays’ with completing unemployment claims
- The Next Atlanta: Affordable Housing, Eviction Crisis, and Gentrification
- Late payments, confusion plague Atlanta’s HIV housing program
- Out-of-work Georgians still face long waits for unemployment benefits
- 2000 applications already in for DeKalb’s new rent relief program
- Tenants Union Fights for Recognition, “Respect” at Atlanta Subsidized Housing Complex
- Falling through the cracks: pandemic exacts heavy financial toll on Georgians
- In the Stimulus Bill, A Policy Revolution in Aid for Children
- “To fight poverty, we must have civil legal aid”
- For many motel dwellers, eviction ban provides no relief
- Federal Rule Could Give Tenants New Tool
We are championing our team of lawyers, paralegals, and support staff, who have adapted to a remote work environment and who continue to fight for justice for our clients, despite barriers in their paths. Scroll down to the bottom to read some good stories.
- Unemployment – The Department of Labor announced that they saw a record-breaking 3.3 million people apply for unemployment benefits during the week of 3/15. During that same period, we saw a 100% increase in calls related to unemployment.
- Domestic violence – During any national or international crisis, we see an increase in domestic violence instances as stress levels rise. In this case, the situation is especially dire as mandatory lockdowns and shelter-in-place requirements force many people into isolation with their abusers. Courts are still issuing protective orders during COVID-19, and our lawyers are here to help victims of domestic violence navigate the process.
- Housing issues – Right now, there is a temporary hold on evictions. When that hold is lifted, we anticipate seeing a large influx in cases related to housing issues like evictions and foreclosures. Currently we are seeing a number of cases of evictions related to people who have been living in extended stay hotels. When renters are unable to find affordable housing, many are forced into these living arrangements as their only option. This group is especially vulnerable to homelessness during this crisis.
- Public benefits – With changing requirements for public benefits, we’ve seen an influx in cases related to people needing help accessing public benefits like food stamps. Our staff is keeping concerned clients up to date on who qualifies and how to access these benefits. We are also creating informative and self-help resources to help cut through the chaos and give people clear directions.
We are regularly updating this COVID-19 Resource List with self-help information about addressing the legal issues of this crisis. Our quick explainer videos are below. Please watch and share with anyone who would benefit from them.