Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, in a partnership with the United Way of St. Charles and the St. Charles Parish Public Library, will host seven free legal workshops in three of the St. Charles Parish library branches over the next few months.
The series starts today with a Zoom presentation, but the other six sessions will be in person. The series extends through June.
St. Charles Parish Library Assistant Director Lauren Campo Pitz said the library system is excited to be dipping its tows back into in-person programming.
“We’re very excited to offer these much-needed workshops and sessions and to get people back in the libraries,” she said. “We’re all really ready.”
Topics of the series – which will be rotate among the St. Rose, Luling and Destrehan library branches – include unemployment compensation, eviction and foreclosure moratorium updates, wills and powers of attorney/successions, IRS tax issues, consumer scams, divorce and custody and bankruptcy considerations.
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Executive Director Laura Tuggle said the sessions were offered at the parish’s senior citizen centers pre-COVID, but that the pandemic highlighted the need for another place to deliver the information.
“We believe that libraries are trusted, reliable sources for all kinds of information in local communities,” Tuggle said. “A lot of residents in St. Charles Parish may not know where to get legal assistance or information, so they many head to their local library. We think it’s a great partnership to be in a location where people are already naturally looking for information.”
In the wake of the pandemic, Tuggle said her legal services’ team has seen a 300% increase in requests for legal assistance regarding evictions and a 2020% increase in requests for legal assistance regarding unemployment benefits.
“We know it’s really important that during the pandemic people in need get connected with legal assistance,” Tuggle said, adding Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is committed to providing information, education, advocacy and access to attorneys for people in Louisiana. “We know there is a real need for this information in the community, so we’re just trying to find innovative ways to connect with people. We’re grateful to the United Way of St. Charles for funding us and partnering with us.”
Space in each session will be limited, and anyone who is interested can register at www.myscpl.org.
The legal sessions are funded by the United Way of St. Charles, as is the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services’ St. Charles Parish Access to Justice Center.
The center is located at 171 Keller St. in Hahnville and offers free legal aid and self-representation information. It is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, call 985-331-3034.