COVID-19 Legal Response
This page was last updated on October 16, 2020.
Due to changing circumstances, this information may be superseded by current events, new laws and regulations, disaster declarations and extensions, court orders and administrative agency decisions. While we will make every effort to update this information when possible, the user should always check for updates and be guided accordingly.
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If you're looking for legal help or have questions about COVID-19 and your rights, consider visiting www.lawhelp.org to look up information in your area.
- Key Resources
- National Efforts & Resources
- Pro Bono Opportunities
- Remote Legal Resources
- COVID-19 Technology
On March 13, 2020, the White House issued a Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak, known as SARS-CoV-2 (“the virus”).
Anticipated Life Cycle of Legal Issues
Like any disaster, COVID-19 is going to cause legal issues that will be felt for years or decades to come. This infographic shows the anticipated life cycle of those legal issues (PDF download).
Coronavirus Legal Response Calls & Listserv
On March 12, 2020, legal aid and pro bono advocates across regions in the US met over a conference call to discuss a COVID-19 legal response. The call was chaired by Tiela Chalmers, co-chair of the Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative (DLAC) in California, and CEO the Alameda County Bar Association and Legal Access Alameda, in collaboration with Pro Bono Net.
- Advocates interested in continuing to share information, resources and strategies are welcome to join a new COVID-19 Legal Response listserv available here. We are sharing weekly digests with curated resources, events, and updates. You can access the archive here (log in required).
- For a brainstorming list of issues and resources identified by legal aid and pro bono advocates across regions, please click here.
- For California-specific resources, visit the statewide disaster legal services website at www.disasterlegalservicesca.org.
- If you are not yet a member of the Advocacy Center, please visit https://www.disasterlegalaid.org/advocates/join/ to submit a membership request.
The American Bar Association created a task force to address legal needs arising from coronavirus pandemic. The task force will include up to 20 representatives from top legal organizations in the United States. The group will identify legal needs arising from the pandemic, make recommendations to address those needs and help mobilize volunteer lawyers and legal professionals for people who need help. You can visit the ABA's pandemic website here.
Please visit our Events Calendar here to register for publicly available webinars related to COVID-19 response efforts, remote technology for legal aid programs, legal issues, and more.
- The National Center on Law & Elder Rights (NCLER) has materials on COVID-19 here. NCLER also provides free case consultation assistance for attorneys and professionals seeking more information to help older adults. Topics can include: Advance Planning, Elder Abuse, Guardianship, Health/LTSS, Economic Security, Supported Decision-Making, Consumer Protection, and Housing. NCLER does not provide direct legal assistance to individuals. Their consultation service is available to legal services and aging network professionals.
- The National Council on Aging has a COVID-19 Resource Center for older adults, caregivers and professionals.
- The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has Coronavirus Updates for the Elder Law Community here.
- Visit Voices for Civil Justice's COVID-19 page for media Guidance for Civil Justice Advocates.
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition is maintaining a COVID-19/Housing and Homelessness News and Resource page.
- Justice in Aging has COVID-19 Resources for Advocates Serving Older Adults.
- The National Housing Law Project has put together resources for attorneys, advocates, policymakers, and others for assistance during the COVID-19 national public health crisis.
- The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has created a new COVID-19 & Consumer Protections page to provide updates on their current efforts to protect renters, homeowners, and consumers, and advocate for student loan borrowers whose ability to repay their loans may suffer due to lost income, insufficient paid leave, or lack of access to childcare. The NCLC is also offering free access to the digital edition of Surviving Debt: Expert Advice For Getting Out of Financial Trouble, NCLC’s most comprehensive guide to navigating debt for consumers and consumer advocates.
- The Immigration Advocates Network has resources for pro bono attorneys, nonprofit advocates, organizers, and service providers.
- The Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative has created a new COVID-19 Resources page to provide information on the current pandemic, connect community members to local resources and amplify self-care tools as social distancing goes into effect.
- The Self-Represented Litigation Network has a COVID-19 page with resources on remote service delivery, best practices in legal hotlines, and remote pro bono delivery.
- The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) has a page on COVID-19 Resources for Legal Services and Victims’ Rights.
- The Practising Law Institute (PLI) is providing free access to online programs covering legal developments related to the global coronavirus crisis.
- The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty has a COVID-19 page for recommendations and resources.
- The National Health Law Program has an assortment of resources related to coronavirus from NHeLP and their trusted partners.
- The National Center for State Courts is compiling resources, news, and court orders related to COVID-19 here.
- The American Bar Association is regularly adding resources to their pandemic website, including free online training videos for lawyers on working remotely, and their CLE Marketplace with nearly 600 widely-accredited online and on-demand programs on pandemic-related and other topics, free with ABA membership.
- Baker Botts publishes comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Guide for individuals. The guide is divided into jurisdictions and includes federal resources on immigration, voting rights, unemployment benefits, and health insurance.
- Freddie Mac Lookup COVID-19 Support for Renters - Renters may use this property search tool to find out if they live in a property that has a mortgage loan purchased or securitized by Freddie Mac.
- Pathfinders, in partnership with over 50 organizations around the globe, developed briefings on Justice in a Pandemic, with a specific focus on Justice for All in the Public Health Emergency.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season in anticipation of hurricane season.
Advocates and national advocacy organizations from across the country created a national survey to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and sexual violence survivors and the advocates/survivor leaders that serve them. The survey closes on May 31, 2020.
- The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project released a nationwide map of eviction moratoriums and tenant protections. They will keep building on it over the next few weeks and adding new information and policies as they emerge. If you've heard of anything you want to add to the map, you can use the "Submit your updates" button to add your knowledge to the map. They will also be working towards translating into multiple languages to increase accessibility.
- In March 2020, in the face of the increasing danger posed by Covid-19 to people held in jails and prisons, the UCLA Prison Law and Policy Program launched the UCLA Covid-19 Behind Bars Data Project. The Project, spearheaded by Professor Sharon Dolovich, tracks Covid-19 conditions in jails and prisons and the efforts — both in and out of court — to decrease jail and prison populations and improve conditions to ensure the safety of residents and staff.
- The National Consumer Law Center is tracking state and local government responses to the coronavirus that are relevant to the collection of non-mortgage consumer debts, including State Protections for Wages and Cash in Bank Accounts. For additional trackers, visit NCLC's COVID-19 page.
- Public list of COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria by State, Commonwealth and Territory - This research is being conducted by Emily A. Benfer, Columbia Law School Visiting Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Health Justice Advocacy Clinic with pro bono assistance from students.
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Service maintain a National Housing Preservation Database website that lists projects participating in the following housing programs: Project-Based Section 8, HUD insured housing, Section 202, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, RD Section 515 and 538 rental housing, Public Housing, Section 236, HOME, and State Subsidies. It is searchable by program, property name, address, city, zip code and other criteria.
- Stateside created the 2020 State and Local Government Responses to COVID-19 chart to track state legislative actions, executive agency actions, gubernatorial actions, and local government actions related to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
- The National Governors Association has a national (states + territories) COVID-19 tracking chart of shelter-in-place orders, travel limitations, and other state actions here.
- White & Case has state-by-state matrices, key guidelines, including restrictions of individuals’ movements, and restrictions on businesses and operations, enacted and enforced by local governments, across multiple jurisdictions in the United States.
- The Eviction Lab is tracking COVID-19 and Changing Eviction Policies Around the Nation here.
- Propublica Database COVID-19 Evictions: This database contains addresses for more than 177,000 buildings with five or more units that have mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac; those insured by the Federal Housing Administration; and properties that are part of certain low-income housing programs. Some properties that qualify for federal protections, including ones with fewer than five units backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in this database.
- The National League of Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to collect and share actions taken by local leaders in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- The National Notary Association is updating Important Notary information amid COVID-19 here.
- The National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide offers information on pro bono opportunities in your state. The Guide is a joint project of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, its project the ABA Center for Pro Bono, and Pro Bono Net.
- The American Bar Association's ABA Center for Pro Bono hosts a COVID-19 & Pro Bono page with helpful resources.
- The American Bar Association's Free Legal Answers is a virtual legal advice clinic that allows attorneys to provide legal information and advice online. You can sign up by visiting https://abafreelegalanswers.org/. You must be authorized to provide pro bono assistance in your state.
- We the Action has remote opportunities available for pro bono attorneys. You can sign up at https://wetheaction.org/.
- Five Great Ways to Do Pro Bono Online (Coronavirus Edition) by Sarah Mills - Lawline
- 10 Paths to Online Pro Bono Work was recently published by Shaun G. Jamison, Assc. Dean of Concord Law School. Learn how to navigate pro bono legal work during the coronavirus pandemic. Ten examples are shared of ways lawyers can help clients in need with pro bono work using remote technology.
Law School Students
Over 300 law students, paralegals, and student paralegals have offered to provide remote pro-bono support for COVID-related matters. These students stand ready to provide research, drafting, and other support to attorneys. If attorneys are interested in receiving student support on their COVID-19 related matters, they should fill out this form. If students are interested in providing support, they should fill out this form.
- The Remote Legal Support Guide: A Best Practices Manual for Nonprofit and Pro Bono Innovation is a collaborative text by over 10 organizations that pools expert resources and experience and explores different ways to leverage technology and share strategies that increase rural and underserved communities' access to justice. The Guide and more background on this initiative is available here. We hope this resource is helpful for any programs considering shifting to remote support to help keep staff, clients and communities healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- OneJustice developed a Remote Clinic Toolkit that consists of a project management system, privacy and confidentiality best practices, surveys, pro bono models, and data collection strategies. To learn more, or request access to the Toolkit, click here.
NoRent.org is made by JustFix.nyc, a non-profit organization that co-designs and builds tools for tenants, housing organizers, and legal advocates fighting displacement in New York City. Tenants across the nation are being impacted by COVID-19 in ways that are affecting their abilities to pay rent. This tool was made to empower tenants to exercise their rights during this pandemic.
- COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment Navigator
This app, created by Lagniappe Law Lab, helps people understand whether they qualify for the CARES Act Economic Impact Payments (sometimes referred to as a stimulus), figure out where it will go, and calculate their payment.
- The Eviction Lab
The Eviction Lab is a team of researchers, students, and website architects at Princeton University who believe that a stable, affordable home is central to human flourishing and economic mobility. Accordingly, understanding the sudden, traumatic loss of home through eviction is foundational to understanding poverty in America.
- The Eviction Tracking System by The Eviction Lab
The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened America’s housing crisis. The nation’s most severe public health emergency in a century may cause large spikes in eviction and homelessness. In response, The Eviction Lab has created the Eviction Tracking System to monitor weekly updates on the number of eviction cases being filed across the United States. Visit their page to view full reports on the cities in which we are operating, and to learn more about the project.
- Eviction Estimates powered by Stout
- COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project
The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project is a collaborative, community legal project. Our mission is to provide Coloradoans who are unable to pay their rent during the COVID-19 crisis with information and support.
Rentervention is a joint project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, and other advocates. If you’re a Chicago Tenant that needs help with a housing issue, you’re in the right place. Rentervention is a program of Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, a nonprofit organization. Rentervention is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL and is here to help you.
- Lone Star Legal Aid
- The Texas Eviction HELP Project
The Texas Eviction HELP Project is an online A2J Author interview that provides useful information about the eviction process and links to trusted resources. The interview will also create court papers that you can file in eviction court based on the answers you provide to questions during the interview.
- LSLA CARES Tool
Lone Star Legal Aid has created a new tool, LSLA CARES, to help you search the many public databases available to find out if your property is subject to the CARES Act. See if your property is covered here.
- LSLA COVID Benefits Interview
The interview provides useful information about benefits available to those affected economically by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- LSLA COVID Foreclosure Interview
This interview will help visitors understand what forbearance and loss mitigation are, how to determine their options to avoid falling behind on a mortgage and provide visitors with a letter to send to their mortgage servicer and a referral to a legal aid organization in their area.
- The Texas Eviction HELP Project
- Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
- TRLA ARCGIS CARES Act Tool
Is your landlord’s property subject to the CARES ACT? A new federal law called the CARES Act provides protection from nonpayment of rent evictions for tenants in section 8, public housing and any housing with other federal government involvement. You may not know it, but your property might be covered by the CARES Act and provide you with important rental protections,
- TRLA ARCGIS CARES Act Tool
- Harris County Eviction Dashboard by January Advisors