Author: Dee Grano

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a civil non-profit law firm dedicated to providing equal justice to North Carolina residents who are experiencing poverty and marginalization. The Legal Aid NC team is diverse and our culture is inclusive. Our aim is to not only provide our clients with legal help but empowerment. To ensure equal access to justice for all, we respect backgrounds, honor heritage and view what makes us different as assets. We invite you to do the same.

Heritage Month Celebration(s)

September 26 – Rosh Hashanah

September 15-October 15-Hispanic Heritage Month

October 10-Indigenous People’s Day

October 10-Sukkot

October 17-Shemini Atzeret

October 11-National Coming Out Day (U.S./U.K.)

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Global Diversity Awareness Month

Filipino American History Month

Emotional Wellness Month

Dyslexia Awareness Month

What is Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, which means “the head of the year,” is the Jewish New Year. The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah. It is the traditional anniversary of the creation of the world and the creation of Adam and Eve, who are known as the biblical first man and first woman. Rosh Hashanah is also a judgment day, when Jews believe that their God considers people’s deeds from the previous year, decides what the next year will be like for them, and inscribes the results in the Book of Life for the coming year.

Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration that begins on the first day of Tishrei, in the seventh month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year. -Courtesy of Henry Ford College

Author: Dee Grano

RALEIGH, N.C. — Legal Aid of North Carolina is proud to announce that managing attorney of the Winston-Salem office, Daniel H. Joyce, has been selected as a member of the 2023 class of Leadership Winston-Salem’s Flagship Program. Leadership Winston-Salem’s Flagship Program is designed to inspire selected community leaders to educate and connect with each other. The program challenges participants to increase their personal and collective capacity to transform the community through civic engagement, servant leadership and building social capital. More on the program can be found on Leadership Winston-Salem’s website.

“Under Daniel’s leadership, his team has been working to remove civil legal barriers to economic opportunity for Winston-Salem neighbors in need,” said Legal Aid of North Carolina CEO Ashley Campbell. “We are thrilled that Daniel was selected to be part of this influential group, and are eager to learn from his experience.” 

Daniel Joyce is a 2011 graduate of the Elon University School of Law. Prior to earning his law degree, he received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Appalachian State University. Joyce began working at Legal Aid NC in 2016 as a staff attorney representing victims and survivors of domestic violence. Before Legal Aid of North Carolina, he worked in private practice, focusing in both criminal and civil-domestic violence law. He currently serves as the managing attorney for the Winston-Salem office of Legal Aid of North Carolina. 

“Public service is my passion, and I am always looking for a way to increase my impact to help others,” said Joyce. “I am thankful for the support of my Legal Aid of North Carolina team.”

Likened to a “community MBA,” Leadership Winston-Salem’s Flagship Program participants benefit through active engagement, attending an entire day of programming each month. They work in “action learning teams” to address a real-life dilemma faced by a local agency. The program involves a considerable investment of time and effort in pre-work assignments and engagement in action learning projects for the duration of the program. 

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity. Learn more at legalaidnc.org, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Need legal help? Call 1-866-219-5262 (toll-free) or apply online. 

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Author: Dee Grano

← Back to Disaster Relief

Legal Aid of North Carolina is helping those recovering from the catastrophic flooding that occurred in August 2021 through free disaster recovery legal services and clinics.  

Legal Aid will host clinics in October to assist those affected by Tropical Storm Fred. Storm survivors interested in Legal Aid’s services should call 866-219-5262, extension 2657 to learn more about how Legal Aid may be able to help and schedule an appointment for an upcoming clinic. 

Legal Aid may be able to help with accessing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, or the Office of State Budget & Management. Storm survivors may face fraudulent contractors and suppliers, tax issues, home ownership/heir property questions, and the need for wills and advanced directives. Legal Aid can help with this and more. 

In June, the Legal Services Corporation announced that it would award $4.35 million to Legal Aid to support the delivery of legal services to low-income people impacted by Tropical Storm Fred, Hurricane Isaias, Tropical Storm Eta, and other severe weather events the state faced in 2020 and 2021. The new grant funds will be used to continue to provide disaster legal services to multiple areas of the state, including Western North Carolina.  

Those interested in Legal Aid’s disaster recovery services are encouraged to attend an upcoming event. Call 866-219-5262, extension 2657 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred. 

The events scheduled in October include: 

Sunday, October 16 from 1-5 p.m. 

Cruso Community Center 

13186 Cruso Rd. 

Canton, NC 28716 

Monday, October 17 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Fines Creek Library 

190 Fines Creek Rd.

Clyde, NC 28721 

Tuesday, October 18 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Transylvania County Library

212 S. Gaston St. 

Brevard, NC 28712 

Wednesday, October 19 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Cruso United Methodist Church 

11653 Cruso Rd. 

Canton, NC 28716  

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About 

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity. Legal Aid’s Disaster Relief Project provides legal assistance and education to survivors of natural disasters in North Carolina and supports community economic development and long-term recovery in disaster-impacted communities. Learn more at legalaidnc.org. Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube

Media Contact 

Hannah Brown, Legal Aid of North Carolina, 704-526-9449, hannahl@legalaidnc.org 

Author: Dee Grano

Celebrating those who support our clients.

Alexandra Southerland is a supervising attorney serving Wake and Johnston Counties.

She helps our clients with domestic violence or housing issues, and assists others with getting connected to public benefits. She also does some estate planning for the elderly.

In honor of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s 20th anniversary, we interviewed our hardworking staff to learn what drives their passion for our clients.


What made you want to be a lawyer?
Growing up in Hope Mills, near Fayetteville, I was about six years old when I started watching Matlock. I loved that Andy Griffith was from North Carolina, playing the role of a lawyer that did his own investigating and provided compelling, honest advocacy for his clients. Of course, he’d always win!

Why did you start working at Legal Aid NC?
I always wanted to do something to fight systemic bias, so I thought about joining the public defender’s office. When I got out of law school, someone told me about Legal Aid of North Carolina. I applied and worked at the helpline for five months when someone said, “Let’s get you to an office and into a courtroom.” Four years later I am still here.

What do you love about working at Legal Aid NC?
There’s always a personal reward when I can serve people with my knowledge, dedication and passion. That service keeps me grounded and connected to others.

What frustrates you?
I get frustrated by the bigger systemic issues that are out of our control. We help people on an individual basis, but so much of their struggle is connected to larger issues that impact many people in every state. It can feel like the cards are stacked against you, but you still have to put your best foot forward for the client.

What does, “Removing barriers. Upholding opportunity.” mean to you?

It’s motivation. We’re dealing with clients who come to us in crisis. As soon as they have been through a crisis, there’s another one. We don’t do this for money. We do it to be the voice of the underprivileged person. We’re lawyers, but also have to be counselors and cheerleaders.

Tell me about a special client you helped.
I helped a disabled man who had been receiving disability but lost his benefit because the Social Security Administration said he was overpaid. At first, I wasn’t sure his case had merit, but I hung in there and trusted him because this is what we’re here for.

I pulled receipts and bank accounts, and made charts to form the chronological story. I had to call in help from my colleagues. There were times he wanted to quit, but I encouraged him and he stuck with it. Two years later he was finally awarded all the back pay he was owed. He also got his benefits reinstated.

What we do is important. We give our clients hope when all seems hopeless.


Support Alexandra and the Legal Aid of North Carolina team!

Though our organization’s impact is great, the demand for our services surpasses its capacity to help. In honor of the organization’s two decades of service, consider donating, volunteering or getting involved with Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Author: Dee Grano

Celebrating those who support our clients.

Jack Lloyd works with Legal Aid’s economic justice initiative/mortgage foreclosure prevention project.

His team is focused on preventing homelessness and foreclosure, in addition to helping clients with other consumer issues.

In honor of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s 20th anniversary, we interviewed our hardworking staff to learn what drives their passion for our clients.


What made you want to be a lawyer?
I love the law, and I knew in seventh grade that I wanted to be a lawyer. I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Inherit the Wind,” and had great teachers that fostered my interest in debate.

Why did you start working at Legal Aid NC?

Today, law students learn about poverty and indigent law, but when I was in law school they didn’t. I started my career working in corporate defense. 

In a volunteer capacity, my wife and I started working with the homeless through Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network, and we ran the program for our faith community for six years. It changed my perspective and opened my eyes to a world I didn’t fully understand. I made the decision to leave corporate law for Legal Aid of North Carolina, and my wife was fully supportive.

What do you love about working at Legal Aid NC?

It’s a privilege to work with our clients. These people are facing traumatic circumstances in their lives, yet their strength of will and ability to endure is amazing.

Watching these folks stand up to out-of-town scammers and not back down is completely inspiring. What we do is important for them. In my previous job, a win was equivalent to a rounding error on their budget sheet, but for my clients at Legal Aid of North Carolina, the chance to be heard at trial means all the world.

What frustrates you?
The expense of the legal system. Justice is not cheap. To anyone considering a donation to Legal Aid, I can tell you that your donation directly funds work that dramatically improves the lives of our clients. These are folks who would otherwise have limited-to-zero ability to have their legal rights upheld. Grantors and donors are literally the linchpin to our being able to fight for thousands of North Carolinians each year.

What does, “Removing barriers. Upholding opportunity.” mean to you?

If this organization did not exist, the barrier to having justice done would be insurmountable to so many people across North Carolina. Our clients would not have the chance to have their cases heard, and they would be taken advantage of with no legal recourse. The opportunity to have justice done for our clients depends on the resources so generously shared by our donors.

Tell me about a special client you helped.

In 2021, I had the pleasure of representing an elderly gentleman who lives in a historically impoverished area of Raleigh. Since Raleigh is a hot real estate market, we attract many out-of-state investment groups who buy up and tear down neighborhoods. One of these companies scammed our client by tricking him into signing away his property—something called predatory gentrification.

Our client is not a financially sophisticated man, a double amputee whose joy in life is to sit on his front porch, wave to his neighbors, and watch the kids play. Opposing counsel literally scoffed at the man for having the temerity to demand they return ownership of the home to him. But we won the case, and today he’s still waving at his neighbors and watching the kids play.

What we do is important. We give our clients hope when all seems hopeless.


Support Jack and the Legal Aid of North Carolina team!

Though our organization’s impact is great, the demand for our services surpasses its capacity to help. In honor of the organization’s two decades of service, consider donating, volunteering or getting involved with Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Author: Dee Grano

Celebrating those who support our clients.

O’Shauna M. Hunter is a supervising attorney and the Charlotte Housing Project Director for Legal Aid of North Carolina. Her team represents people who are facing eviction, have repair concerns, or have issues with their subsidies.

In honor of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s 20th anniversary, we interviewed our hardworking staff to learn what drives their passion for our clients.


What made you want to be a lawyer?
I wanted to give back to the community, because I grew up eligible for these services. My family depended on food stamps and Medicaid. I had no knowledge of Legal Aid when I was growing up in North Carolina, and I know the people in my community didn’t either.

Why did you start working at Legal Aid NC?
In my second year of law school, my classmates and I worked at the self-serve center in the courthouse, a resource for people going through legal issues like custody and divorce court. Though people can file their own paperwork for a fee that can be waived if they qualify, I saw attorneys charging their clients for the same filing that person could do for free. That got me interested in nonprofit work. After law school, I got a Fellowship to work in the Concord office of Legal Aid of North Carolina, then I moved into the Charlotte office. Now I specialize in housing.

What do you love about working at Legal Aid NC?
Charlotte is going through an affordable housing crisis. In eviction cases, most landlords are represented by an attorney, but the majority of tenants are not. Most of the time tenants just want more time, or to know more about the process and their rights. They typically are not aware they have defenses. In most cases, we’ve been able to save someone from eviction who was already packing to leave their home. It’s impactful, and we are really making a difference in people’s lives.

What frustrates you?
We can help the people who qualify for housing help today, but we’re not going to find a solution for their overall problem. They cannot afford a place to live because they have low paying jobs. They can’t get better jobs because they are in crisis. We see repeat clients, which is sad.

What does, “Removing barriers. Upholding opportunity.” mean to you?

We uphold the opportunity for our clients to be heard. Whether it’s the repair they’ve been complaining about for months, or the fee their landlord has tacked on that they didn’t agree to, we listen. We make a difference, by giving them a fair chance to present their defense.

Tell me about a special client you helped.
I had a client who came to Legal Aid of North Carolina after she had already been evicted, because she was at risk of losing her subsidy. For someone who has a subsidy, a portion of their rent is paid by the federal government. Because there is an affordable housing crisis, subsidies are like a golden ticket. We were able to overturn the eviction even though her appeal deadline had passed and we were able to preserve her subsidy.

What we do is important. We give our clients hope when all seems hopeless.


Support O’Shauna and the Legal Aid of North Carolina team!

Though our organization’s impact is great, the demand for our services surpasses its capacity to help. In honor of the organization’s two decades of service, consider donating, volunteering or getting involved with Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Author: Dee Grano

This is a continuing legal education session for attorneys who want to learn more about poverty law or become a pro bono volunteer.

Starts: 9/8/2022 12:00 PM

Ends: 9/8/2022 1:00 PM

Session type: Webinar

General credits: 1

TOTAL CREDITS: 1

Credit status: Pending Approval

Cost: $65.00, FREE for LANC employees and volunteers.

Program Overview:

This CLE will define heir property and describe how heir property is created, why it presents problems for maintaining and proving home ownership, and how it impedes disaster recovery.  It will also explore legal solutions to remove common barriers faced by clients who own heir property. This training will be beneficial for all legal services attorneys, volunteer attorneys involved in Legal Aid’s pro bono program, and attorneys in private practice who handle matters involving real property ownership.

Presenters:

Lesley Wiseman Albritton is the Project Director and Managing Attorney of the Disaster Relief Project at Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc., where she is privileged to work with a team of outstanding lawyers, paralegals, and social workers assisting North Carolinians recover from natural disasters. The project provides legal assistance and education to survivors of natural disasters in North Carolina and supports equitable community economic development and long-term recovery in disaster-impacted communities. In this role, Ms. Albritton leads LANC’s response to Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, and Dorian, Tropical Storm Fred and numerous other smaller events.  Ms. Albritton is a member of the State Emergency Management Housing Recovery Support Function, serves on the boards of the NC Housing Coalition and the North Carolina Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters and is a member of the North Carolina Rural Inclusive Recovery Network’s steering committee.  She is a contributing author to the American Bar Association’s recent book, Meeting the Legal Needs of Disaster Survivors and co-author of the article, Disasters Do Discriminate: Black Land Tenure and Disaster Relief Programs, which was published in the ABA Journal on Affordable Housing.  She regularly teaches continuing legal education classes on disaster law to other attorneys. She received her law degree from Ohio Northern University, where she graduated with High Distinction.  She was named a 2019 Leader in the Law by North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly.  She lives in Greenville, North Carolina with her husband and three sons.


Emma Smiley is a supervising attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Disaster Recovery Project, where she represents low-income North Carolinians impacted by natural disasters. She currently specializes in representing homeowners seeking federal, state, and nonprofit funding to repair their disaster-damaged homes, and particularly enjoys assisting heir owners in gaining and establishing marketable title to their homes. Previously, she has worked in Legal Aid’s domestic violence practice group, and has handled family law, housing, consumer, expungement and education cases. She has also worked for the state of North Carolina in a legal research position and has represented employees in wage and hour cases in private practice. She is a graduate of Duke University School of Law.


Author: Dee Grano

← Back to Healthcare Access

Grant is the second largest award given to 59 organizations across the country

Raleigh – The NC Navigator Consortium is proud to announce that the total for its 2022 CMS Navigator Cooperative Agreement is $6,444,386, the second largest award given to 59 navigator organizations in the United States. The NC Navigator Consortium reaches more than 300,000 North Carolinians each year, providing peace of mind to those seeking free, unbiased help finding quality, affordable health insurance coverage. This grant will enable the organization to expand its reach and increase awareness of the credits and subsidies available on the Health Insurance Marketplace® at HealthCare.gov. More about the NC Navigator Consortium is available at ncnavigator.net. Information about the program and all 2022 awardees can be found on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) website.

The NC Navigator Consortium is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group of organizations whose health insurance navigators connect consumers to qualified health plans that provide essential health benefits and preventive care, in addition to mental healthcare, ER care and maternity coverage, not limited by caps or pre-existing conditions. Navigators show consumers all their options, and check to ensure their providers and prescriptions are covered on the plan they select. Navigators are available year-round for questions and to address other issues like qualifying life events, special Open Enrollment periods and income adjustments.

“We thank CMS and are humbled by the vote of confidence in our organization that this award represents,” said Mark Van Arnam, director of the NC Navigator Consortium, who added more than one million North Carolinians are uninsured. “This grant will ensure every North Carolina resident has access to the help they need to get coverage to keep their families healthy.”

According to CMS: “Since 2013, Navigators have helped Americans understand their health insurance options … As trusted community partners, their mission focuses on assisting the uninsured and other underserved communities. Navigators serve an important role in connecting communities that historically have experienced lower access to health coverage and greater disparities in health outcomes to health coverage.”

“With adequate health insurance, families in poverty don’t have to choose between staying healthy and feeding their family or keeping the lights on,” said Ashley Campbell, CEO of Legal Aid of North Carolina, which leads the NC Navigator Consortium. “Access to affordable health insurance is key to providing stability for our clients and helps move families out of poverty.”

The NC Navigator Consortium is the only federally funded entity of its kind in North Carolina, supported in part by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Learn more at ncnavigator.net, and follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Members of the Consortium are Access EastCharlotte Center for Legal AdvocacyCouncil on Aging of Buncombe CountyCumberland HealthNETHealthCare AccessHealthNet GastonKintegra HealthNC FIELD and Pisgah Legal Services. The Consortium is led by Legal Aid of North Carolina

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity. Learn more at legalaidnc.org and follow on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube

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The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity number CA-NAV-21-001 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies.

Author: Dee Grano

Wills, deeds and powers of attorney are all legal documents that help provide certainty for you and your heirs if a disaster strikes and you end up in an extended recovery process. If you’re a Hurricane Florence survivor who wants to make sure that you know who will take care of you, we may be able to draft a power of attorney agreement. If you’re a survivor who wants to make sure that ownership of your home and land is clear and that your home and land will go to the person that you want to inherent, we may be able to draft a deed and a simple will.

For assistance, contact Legal Aid NC’s helpline at 866-219-5262 and see if you qualify for services.

Additional video resources:

Estate planning for rainy weather: Important documents when recovering from a natural disaster

What is estate planning and why should you consider it during disaster recovery?

Estate Planning for Disaster Recovery: Wills and Advance Directives

Author: Dee Grano

We can help Hurricane Florence survivors with disaster recovery program applications and appeals.

Learn More

Legal Aid of North Carolina’s disaster relief project helps clients with recovery assistance applications and appeals, including the ReBuild NC Homeowner Recovery Program through the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency. If you are a survivor of Hurricane Florence who would like to learn more about how Legal Aid may be able to help with disaster recovery, we encourage you to call the Legal Aid helpline at 866-219-5262. 

How can we help?

When applying for assistance, Legal Aid may be able to help with:

  • Online filing if you don’t have internet service or email
  • Reviewing your application before submitting
  • Helping to collect the documents you need to be sent with an application
  • Any deed or title concerns that come up before submitting your application
  • Concerns about receiving assistance from more than one source that is used for the same purpose (Duplication of Benefits)

If you need to file an appeal, Legal Aid NC may be able to:

  • Talk with your case manager to understand why you were denied
  • Assist with writing an appeal letter 
  • Help you collect additional documentation that may be helpful in supporting your appeal

Other legal issues that Legal Aid can assist with may occur during the process of applying for recovery programs or receiving a decision from a program. We encourage survivors of Hurricane Florence to contact Legal Aid NC’s helpline at 866-219-5262 to learn if you qualify for Legal Aid NC’s services.

Additional Video Resources:

Accessing recovery funds: Duplication of Benefits and FEMA Recoupment

Applying for a replacement social security card or requesting a copy of your birth certificate in NC

Filing an appeal with ReBuild NC

Duplication of benefits during disaster recovery

The Homestead Property Tax Exclusion

Property Taxes and Disaster Recovery

Your Mortgage and Disaster Recovery

Understanding ReBuild NC: Repair or Replace?

How Legal Aid NC May Be Able To Help With Disaster Recovery & Applying for ReBuild NC