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Why FEMA Aid Is Unavailable To Many Who Need It The Most

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Speights' mobile home in DeQuincy, La., is at the end of an unpaved road in a stand of tall longleaf pines. Donnie and Stephen Speight bought the land and the house 11 years ago after Stephen retired from his job as a pipe fitter at a local petrochemical plant.

The area around their home is flat and marshy. Creeks wend their way toward the Gulf of Mexico. Egrets linger in the tall grass. The Speights liked how secluded and quiet it was.

Stephen's nickname at work was "Termite" because he was agile enough to crawl into pipes when he was younger. But his health was declining. He was a Vietnam veteran who had been exposed to Agent Orange during the war and had rapidly advancing diabetes and mobility problems.

It took everything Donnie had to care for her husband. "I got arthritis like crazy. It's in my hands, my arms, my neck, my hips, my knees," Donnie says. "I don't know how I was doing it."

National Disaster Legal Aid

resource center

Disaster Legal Response Resources for Advocates

The National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center welcomes all advocates and volunteers from nonprofit legal aid organizations, bar associations, pro bono counsel from law firms and corporations, law school students and faculty, and allied nonprofits working on disaster legal aid.

The Advocacy Center includes information disaster response initiatives, upcoming events for advocates, developments from the field, and access to a network of over 600 advocates across the country. It is free to join, but some areas are password-protected. The Advocacy Center is maintained by Lone Star Legal Aid, a legal service provider in Texas. 

Learn more about the history and programs behind DisasterLegalAid.org.