News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation 
October 23, 2017

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Awards Emergency Funds to Help Those Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Funds will be distributed to legal aid organizations across the state

AUSTIN - The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) today announced the distribution of $1.5 million in emergency funds to legal aid organizations in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. These funds will help provide a range of civil legal services for low-income Texans impacted by the hurricane.

The announcement was made at a luncheon with the Texas Supreme Court justices, and is timely as the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, The Texas Access to Justice Commission, the State Bar of Texas and Texas legal aid organizations join in an effort to celebrate and recognize this week as Pro Bono Week. Pro Bono Week highlights the need to expand access to justice through pro bono civil legal services.

After a catastrophic, natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, legal aid and pro bono assistance can provide help in securing FEMA and other benefits, filing health and property insurance claims, and assisting in housing issues related to mortgages, foreclosures, and landlord/tenant problems.

The emergency funds made available to legal aid providers address the long-term effects Harvey has had on low-income Texans. Distributing the funds will take a three-pronged approach: providing on-going support to secure “boots on the ground” with additional staffing needs, serving Harvey survivors who cannot otherwise access civil legal aid, and hiring professional, dedicated staff to coordinate volunteer opportunities that have surfaced in the aftermath of Harvey, placing emphasis on legal aid support.

“Due to Harvey’s destruction, the need for access to a lawyer will be greater than ever,” Richard L. Tate, chair of the board of directors for the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, said. “Legal aid and pro bono assistance play a crucial role in ensuring vulnerable Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey will have the opportunity to rebuild their lives.” 

In addition to the $1.5 million in funds announced today, on September 1, the TAJF board authorized the emergency awarding of $200,000 for the immediate needs of impacted legal aid organizations.

Survivors of Hurricane Harvey need additional help. The Texas Access Justice Foundation has created the
Hurricane Harvey Legal Aid Fund to assist low-income Texans in need of essential legal services.

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The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the largest state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to more than 100,000 Texas families each year. For more information, please visit:

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104


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