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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. 

COVID-19 ALERT REGARDING PUBLIC BENEFITS

Unemployment applications can be submitted online here: https://dol.georgia.gov/ or call your local career center to apply by phone. The career center locator is online here: https://dol.georgia.gov/locations/career-center

Eligibility for food stamps/SNAP has been expanded during this emergency. Apply for food stamps/Medicaid online here: https://gateway.ga.gov/access/

To find food pantries in your area, text FINDFOOD (one word, no space) or COMIDA to 888-976-2232.

For more resources and information, please visit https://www.georgialegalaid.org/resource/covid-19-resource-list

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.

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. 

The Issues

  • 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. 

Resources

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.

Housing Issues

Illegal Evictions

Extended Stay Evictions

Evictions Stopped

Mortgage & Foreclosure Help

Jobs/Unemployment Issues

Filing for Unemployment

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

CARES Expands Unemployment

Paid Leave During COVID-19

How to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment

Special Enrollment for Healthcare

Other Issues

Food Stamps

Domestic Violence Help

IEPs During COVID-19

Court Closures

How to Get Your Stimulus Check

Videos en español

Cambios de SNAP

Ayuda de violencia doméstica

IEP

Desalojos Ilegales

Cambios al desempleo

Good Stories

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