Due to COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, LSNF is taking additional precautions to protect the health of all clients, visitors, and staff. LSNF offices moved all intake applications online and through our centralized phone system. Legal Services of North Florida (LSNF) will continue to support clients' needs and process application, utilizing the available digital tools, including phone and video conferencing.

 

As we continue to monitor the situation, we will keep you updated and maintain measures that keep our clients safe while still continuing to provide access to legal support. Policies and process will continue to evolve as the conditions of public health do.

 

 

Questions about evictions?

Florida's eviction moratorium has been extended to August 1, 2020

How to Access Legal Help by Phone

Phone intake will continue to be available Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am until 5:15 pm.  (local time)

Tallahassee Office: 850-385-9007

Pensacola Office: 850-432-8222

Fort Walton Beach Office: 850-862-3279

Panama City Office: 850-769-3581

Quincy Office: 850-875-988

How to Access Legal Help Online

Online intake is available. You can submit your application anytime, just click Apply Now!

Resources

Legal Helplines

Senior Legal Helpline is active and can provide free legal advice and brief services by telephone appointment to eligible Florida residents age 60 and older.  Florida senior citizens can call 1-888-895-7873 for assistance.

The Veterans Legal Helpline is available to eligible veterans living in Florida.  To apply for services, call 866-486-6161, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If the matter is not an emergency, apply online anytime.

The Florida Bar with the American Bar Association has a free virtual legal advice clinic.  You can post your civil legal question to the website and receive a response in an email when the question has been answered by an attorney volunteer.  Florida Free Legal Answers can be found at  https://florida.freelegalanswers.org/ 

 

American Bar Association

ABA creates task force to address legal needs arising from coronavirus pandemic (March 13, 2020)

In response to the growing legal needs of ordinary Americans arising from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the American Bar Association has created a nationwide task force of volunteer lawyers and judges from across the legal profession…

The task force will include experts in disaster response, health law, insurance, legal needs of families to protect basic human needs such as food, shelter, medical and employment benefits, criminal justice, civil rights and social justice. The group will include representatives from:

  • The National Center for State Courts
  • The National Association of Bar Executives
  • The National Conference of Bar Presidents
  • The Legal Services Corporation
  • The National Legal Aid & Defender Association
  • Sections and committees within the ABA

Coronavirus: The Latest Court Closures And Restrictions (March 12, 2020)

For the Florida Southern District Court, court security officers are screening people who enter the federal courthouse and denying entry to anyone who has recently visited Italy, Iran, South Korea or China. Anyone who resides with or has had recent close contact with someone who has traveled to one of those countries, has been asked to self-quarantine, has been diagnosed with or had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 also will not be able to enter any of the federal courthouses in the district.

On the state side, courts will implement procedures like social distancing, sanitary precautions and conducting business remotely. The courts have emergency protocols that were last updated and implemented during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)'s Suggestions for Protecting Yourself Against COVID -19

"…CMS outlines the flexibilities MA and Part D plans have to waive certain requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These flexibilities include:

 

  • Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 tests
  • Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments in doctor’s offices or emergency rooms and services delivered via telehealth
  • Removing prior authorizations requirements
  • Waiving prescription refill limits
  • Relaxing restrictions on home or mail delivery of prescription drugs
  • Expanding access to certain telehealth services

 

These waivers break down barriers to beneficiaries accessing care and allow plans to work with pharmacies and providers to treat patients without burdensome requirements limiting their options during this outbreak."

National Housing Assistance

Follow along with the National Low Income Housing Coalition for national and local updates and changes in housing.

National Health Law Program

National Health Law Program is a non-profit law firm is made up of attorneys litigating in state and federal courts and policy advocates fighting to advance access to quality health care for low-income and underserved individuals. Find abundant resources and updates from government agencies and partners listed here, including recommendations for service organizations.

State of Florida Organizations to Follow

 

Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health has a dedicated COVID-19 Call Center for questions about this virus. Anyone with questions may call 1-(866) 779-6121 or email . The Call Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Coronavirus questions? Call 1-(866) 779-6121 or email [email protected].

The Call Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Florida Food Services

Summer BreakSpot locations are a place for kids and teens 18 and under to come and enjoy free meals while school is out. With Florida schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Commissioner Nikki Fried, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Division of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness encourage families to take advantage of alternative school meals that may be offered at these locations: https://summerbreakspot.freshfromflorida.com/

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) (March 14, 2020) has announced program requirement flexibilities that would allow schools, child care institutions, and community organizations to provide meals to low-income children through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during school closures related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Emotional Support Helplines

Florida Blue and New Directions Behavioral Health offer a bilingual coronavirus 24/7 (bilingual) helpline available to assist Floridians with the stress they may feel during the COVID-19 health emergency.  The emotional support line is a 24/7 line and can be reached at 833-848-1762. Read more about it here.

Salvation Army
Emotional and Spiritual Care is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. , seven days a week at 844-458-4673

Florida Baptist Disaster Relief
Spiritual Care Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week at 888-829-5004

United Way (2-1-1) 
Every day, hundreds of people turn to 2-1-1 for information and support—whether for financial assistance, health programs, crisis support and more. You can access 2-1-1 by phone, email, chat or text (just text your zip code to 898-211).

Reaching out will get you connected to a multilingual 2-1-1 specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations providing critical services to improve and save lives.

Florida Blue Emotional 
Support Line

(Bilingual)

833-848-1762

 

Florida Courts

COVID-19 Administrative Order

Florida Chief Justice Charles Canady has issued an order outlining a first set of guidelines within the state courts system as it confronts COVID-19…Additional orders and guidelines will be issued as the need arises.

 

The Florida Bar COVID-19 Information and Resources

 

 

The Florida Courts COVID-19 Information and Updates

The Florida Supreme Court issued a series of Administrative Orders outlining guidelines within the state court system as it confronts Coronavirus (COVID-19), which currently suspend all jury trials in Florida's Court System through April, 17, 2020.

Florida Price Gouging

The Price Gouging Helpline has been initiated by the Florida Attorney General's Office. Items that are included in the Chapter 501 (501.160) Consumer Protection statute include: protective masks, sanitizing wipes, disinfecting wipes, cleaning supplies, gowns, gloves, and more. Violators can be fined $1,000 to $25,000.

Report Price Gouging to the Attorney General!

Call (866) 9NO - SCAM or submit a report online at MyFloridaLegal.com

Florida Business Damage Assessment survey

Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the distribution of the Business Damage Assessment survey, which will assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. Filling out this survey will help the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19.

Results from this survey will be shared with state agencies and local partners. Surveys submitted by small businesses can be used to access the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, made available for COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. For inquiries or assistance with the survey, businesses can contact Emergency Support Function 18 at [email protected].

Florida Small Business Loans (also known as SBA Loans)

Disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID –19) are now available. Click here for information about the process for Disaster Relief Lending, call 1-800-659-2955, or email [email protected].

 

Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Program

On March 16, Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period opens March 17, 2020 and runs through May 8, 2020.

Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in Florida affected by COVID-19 can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000. These loans are interest-free for up to one yearand are designed to bridge the gap to either federal SBA loans or commercially available loans. The DEO will work with every borrower to ensure that repayment of the loan isn’t an overwhelming burden. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to March 9, 2020 and demonstrate economic impacts as a result of COVID-19.

For more information on the program, visit floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email [email protected]. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.

Florida Reemployment Assistance (Unemployment)

For DEO's "Reemployment Assistance Frequently Asked Questions and Additonal Resources," updated 4/18/2020, go here.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must have lost your job through no fault of your own.
  • You must be totally or partially unemployed
  • You must have a minimum amount of wages earned in what is called the "base period."
  • You must be able to work, available to work and actively seeking work.
  • CARES Act Eligibility - Individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors and non profit employees, those that are otherwise ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits and those that have exhausted state and federal benefits may be eligible.

If your employment has been negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 you may be eligible for Reemployment Assistance.  

Job search requirements for Reemployment Assistance have been waived. As a claimant for Reemployment Assistance you are no longer required to register with the state job search portal to actively seek employment.

DEO is waiving the waiting week for Reemployment Assistance.

RA biweekly reporting requirements have been waived.

  • The CARES Act which provides an additional $600 weekly on top of regular Florida Reemployment Assistance is not yet available to claimants. If you have filed a claim and it is being processed or you have an exisitng RA claim, there is nothing you need to do to receive additonal benefits.  Payments will be issued as they become available.

Reemployment Assistance claims can be submitted online  or through a mobile friendly app or by downloading the paper application.  

Apply online or download the paper application at

https://covid19.floridajobs.org/

Food Stamps (SNAP) and Temporary Cash Assistance (TANF)

Households can apply online for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) and for Temporary Cash Assistance (TANF) at https://www.myflorida.com/accessflorida/ or by calling 1-850-300-9323, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and asking that a paper application be mailed to you.

All access storefronts and lobbies are currently closed to the public.  DCF has provided a secure drop box at existing storefront locations and instructions for clients to submit information and applications without human interactions.

  • The usual work requirements for SNAP and TANF have been suspended due to COVID-19.
  • All SNAP time limits have also been suspended during the COVID 19 health emergency.  No one in Florida should be required to work 80 hours in order to get or keep their SNAP for now.  
  • If you lost SNAP in the past because of work requirements or time limits, you, should apply again.
  • To further ensure that you can safely access SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid benefits, DCF has implemented a six – month recertification extension for individuals and families scheduled to recertify in April or May.
  • DCF has received a federal waiver to temporarily increase all SNAP benefit amounts to the maximum monthly allotment based on household size for the months of March and April.

Adults without Children

Able Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) and SNAP

If you are an adult without children and have been unable to get SNAP (Food Stamps) in the past you should reapply now. Because of the COVID 19 virus, the government has temporarily suspended the work requirements for adults without dependents and also suspended the time limits.  Reapply for SNAP now, you may qualify. Apply online at https://www.myflorida.com/accessflorida/ or by calling 1-850-300-9323, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and asking that a paper application be mailed to you.  All access storefronts and lobbies are currently closed to the public.  DCF has provided a secure drop box at existing storefront locations and instructions for clients to submit information and applications without human interactions.

Proceedings in mission critical matters shall be accomplished using electronic means for some or all of the participants, and/or by using social distancing methods. Mission critical matters that require one or more participants to appear in person shall be conducted in a courtroom to the extent possible. Entry to court facilities in which mission critical hearings are conducted will be with limited persons.

All grand jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings, and criminal and civil jury trial are suspended until April 20,2020, or until further order of the undersigned

Escambia County

Jury trials in the First Judicial Circuit (with the exception of those which have already commenced) are suspended. Only those persons with business before the court, or with agencies housed within the courthouse facilities (such as the Escambia County Clerk of Court, Office of the State Attorney, or Office of the Public Defender) should attempt to enter courthouse facilities. To the extent possible, the Circuit will also hold proceedings by employing video and telephonic appearances. Furthermore, any attorney, litigant, or any member of the public having a specific need to be excused from proceedings or any other request should make the presiding judge aware of his or her circumstances. The First Judicial Circuit Court judges are well aware of the concern within the community and will certainly give fair and careful consideration to any legitimate requests.

  • The Clerk’s Offices will remain open to the public, but we encourage you to utilize our suite of e-services.
  • While the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, the Escambia County Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office continues to monitor and take steps to prevent the spread of the virus. This Office continues to collaborate with our judicial and government partners. We can all take simple steps to protect ourselves and the community. Escambia County has compiled this useful page of preventative measures and information. https://www.escambiaclerk.com/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=Jury-Selection-Cancelation-9

 

Santa Rosa County

Civil jury trials are suspended through April 17 by order of the Supreme Court of Florida.

 

Escambia Santa Rosa Bar Association

Offices will be completely virtual starting March 25 and run until April 17, 2020.

If you don’t have a health care provider or health insurance, call, do not visit, Community Health Northwest Florida at 850-436-4630 or other community walk-in locations, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel history or exposure to a COVID-19 patient. They will determine if you meet the criteria for testing

 

Okaloosa County

List of rescheduled court dates: http://www.okaloosaclerk.com/index.php/news-releases/206-public-announcement-court-rescheduling

 

Walton County

All jury trials have been cancelled through April 17, 2020. If you have questions regarding your case, please contact your attorney, not the court.

 All court closures will follow that of school closures, at least until April 15th

Updated March 24, 2020: Administrative Order 06-2020, effective 3-23-2020, regarding the Franklin County Municipal Court's Findings of Fact and instructing the Clerk of Court as follows regarding Garnishment filings:

For any garnishment action or order filed between March 16, 2020, and May 8, 2020, the Clerk shall accept it for filing, receipt payment of the court cost, and shall issue service of the action or order no earlier than May 11, 2020. As much as practicable, the Clerk shall issue service of the garnishments in the order in which they were received.

United Way of the Big Bend’s COVID-19 Resource Page

 

Franklin County

 

Gadsden County

Clerk of the Court- Certain essential proceedings may still be conducted. Please call (850) 875-8601 to confirm whether your hearing date will be held telephonically or will be rescheduled.

Gadsden County announced they are closing public access to all County offices effective Monday, March 23 until further notice. 

Residents may contact Department of Health-Gadsden staff at (850) 875-7200 (option #1) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Jefferson County

 

Leon County

StarMetro is no longer accepting Kearney Center Issues Bus Passes. StarMetro will not allow more than 10 passengers at a time on the bus

Leon County COVID-19 Resource Page

Leon County announced they are closing public access to all County offices effective Monday, March 23 until at least April 19.

Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller

Certain essential proceedings may still be conducted. Please call (850) 606-4000.

 

Liberty County

The Liberty County Clerk of Court’s Office will be closed to the public until further notice.  Staff will be available to answer any questions by telephone or to assist with the essential or critical court proceedings, as required at 850 643-2215.

 

Wakulla County

  1. Criminal proceedings shall be conducted electronically.
  2. All in-person mass dockets (Criminal, dependency, family CMC's, juvenile delinquency, child support) are suspended until further order
  3. Civil and probate/guardianship proceedings shall be conducted telephonically, except as required by Florida State.
  4. All mediations are suspended except for Circuit Civil and Family mediations, which may proceed by video or by telephone on a case by case basis.
  5. Child support 48-hour hearings will continue to be heard telephonically or by video.
  6. Juvenile detention hearings will continue to be heard electronically (by video or telephonically) or in person as directed by a presiding judge on a case by case basis
  7. Dependency shelter hearings will continue to be heard by video or telephonically
  8. Domestic violence proceedings shall be continued by the presiding judge as circumstances warrant
  9. All problem-solving courts (drug, therapeutic justice, veterans' treatment, and early childhood) are suspended until further order

 

Bay County

Effective immediately, per Administrative Order #2020-00-04, COVID-19 Emergency Procedures in the 14th Judicial Circuit, there are currently no in-person court proceedings and trials until further notice. Essential court proceedings are still in place via video and restricted to the public.

Services are still provided in the Clerk’s office but are restricted to maintain safety of the community and staff. 

 

Calhoun County

Official Records will continue to be processed if they are received by mail or by drop box. A drop box is located at the front of the Courthouse. You must include your name and telephone number in the event there is an issue with the documents and we need to reach you. A check or money order for the proper recording fee must be attached to your Recording Documents. Cash cannot be accepted.

Any questions can be directed to the recording department at 850 674-4545. More information available at the Calhoun Clerk's Website.

 

Gulf County

Gulf County Emergency Management

 

Holmes County

The Board of County Commissioners has elected to close its office effective 8:00am on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 and to remain closed until reevaluated on May 31, 2020.

Although the County will be closed to the public, it will remain open to conduct business via phone and email.

NOTE: All County Parks will be closed to the public. As of March 23, 2020 the Holmes County Tax Collector and Property Appraiser’s office is also closed.

More information on Holmes County

 

Jackson County

Per action by the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners, County offices will be closed to public access through April 15th, 2020 as a preventative measure to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. To contact them, call (850) 482-9633 or email [email protected].

More information on Jackson County

 

Washington County

Anyone with a summons for jury duty dated between March 16, 2020, and April 17, 2020, is not required to go to court as jury trials during this time have been cancelled. If you are unsure if your summons is impacted by this Order, please call the number provided on the summons or contact your local Clerk of Court. https://www.flclerks.com/page/covid-19>