Free Legal Aid Available For Katrina Victims - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Free Legal Aid Available For Katrina Victims

Coast residents dealing with post-Katrina woes took advantage of free legal services Thursday. The Mississippi Center for Justice set up shop in the storm devastated Pearlington community.

Mitchell Fairley lost his home and nearly his life when Hurricane Katrina covered his Pearlington home with water.

"It's been tough, but you've got to roll with the punches," Fairley said.

Finding the money to build a new house has proven difficult for Fairley and his family.

"Right now we're in a FEMA trailer. We appreciate it, but really we need our own home."

Fairley is seeking help from attorneys with the Center for Justice to help him qualify for an SBA loan.

"We have been denied the SBA loan, so I come here today to try to appeal it, and maybe we'll have better luck this time."

The Mississippi Center for Justice is offering free legal services to Coast residents who may not be able to afford legal representation.

"We've been to Pearlington twice, and if you look around, it looks like the storm just happened. Debris is still everywhere. Pearlington residents, it's a rural area and they are not likely to travel to Biloxi to get the legal aid, so we're coming to them," Center for Justice Attorney Crystal Utley said.

Since the storm, the center has helped thousands of residents tackle Katrina related troubles.

"We are still seeing a lot of FEMA issues, people who are still waiting for FEMA trailers. Besides that, I've seen probably ten contractor disputes this week. Some of them, the contractor is taking a down payment and never coming back, or they're doing an awful job. We're also seeing insurance disputes."

She says regardless of the Katrina related issue, the Center for Justice will be there to help for as long as the service is needed.

The Mississippi Center for Justice will hold its next walk-in workshop Thursday, October 19th at its Biloxi Office on Division Street from 4pm to 7pm.

For help before that date, you can make an appointment by contacting Crystal Utley at (601)-352-2269.

by Al Showers

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