Houston, TX – Lone Star Legal Aid and Pro Bono Net, funded by Rebuild Texas Fund, launched a web-based app that guides disaster-recovery assistance providers and their clients through the process of applying for recovery assistance.

The app’s name is “DART,” for Disaster Assistance and Recovery Tool. It’s free and accessible through one of the many organizations partnering with LSLA to assist survivors post-disaster. Partner organizations are going through training on the many uses of the tool and will be ready to roll with it as soon as hurricane season is upon us, June 1, 2020, through November 20, 2020.

The app will help identify the common legal needs of disaster survivors so that they can be referred to the legal assistance that best suits them. Potential applicants will use the DART iPad to complete a questionnaire about seven areas of disaster survivor needs.

The specific questions are divided into seven categories:

  • Housing issues, like evictions and other landlord/tenant issues, public housing, mortgage and foreclosure issues, title clearing/ownership, and property tax;
  • Recovery claims, like contractor fraud/repair scams, vehicle issues, and FEMA recoupment;
  • Employment, like employment issues/unemployment, and lost or destroyed documents;
  • Property insurance, like claims, complaints, and disputes;
  • Income maintenance, like public benefits (Social Security, SSDI, SSI, WIC, TANF, SNAP, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Unemployment Compensation, or Veterans Benefits);
  • Healthcare legal needs, like private health insurance, medical claims, medical power of attorney, and replacing medical equipment; and
  • FEMA and Unmet Needs, like FEMA appeals, unmet housing needs after a disaster, disaster supplemental nutrition assistance program (D-SNAP), disaster unemployment assistance (DUA), and medical issues after a disaster.

Each section of the questionnaire takes about five minutes to complete.

DART’s specifically-designed app analyzes responses to specific questions to identify the level of the applicant’s legal risk in each of the screened areas. Using the DART online questionnaire will make the referral and application work easier because it streamlines Lone Star Legal Aid’s intake process. This tool makes the intake process easier for the applicant, case manager, and LSLA. The client can answer assessment questions on an iPad or a computer in a convenient and friendly community environment. DART allows the case manager to provide faster, one-stop, comprehensive services for the clients and LSLA will get application requests quickly to begin helping potential clients.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org