LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mayor Eric Garcetti says a program to provide free legal services to Los Angeles residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched in partnership with the City Attorney's Office.
The program is called L.A. Represents and is comprised of attorneys who will volunteer their time to help people facing “extreme hardships” during the pandemic.
“L.A. Represents is a coalition of our top law firms, bar associations and attorneys who are volunteering their services free of charge to the rest of us,” Garcetti said Tuesday, adding the program will assist people who are facing immediate problems, such as rent, employment issues or domestic violence.
“These are complex situations, and we don't always all understand the law, those of us who are not lawyers,” the mayor said. “Having a lawyer and an advocate by your side can make all the difference between a positive outcome or a negative one.”
Garcetti said L.A. Represents will be open to residents regardless of citizenship.
“There are no qualifications. You just need to have a problem that you need assistance with ... without any fear, without any discrimination,” Garcetti said. “This is universal.”
The program will also develop a legal support system for businesses that have been “devastated” by the pandemic, the mayor said. Some of the assistance L.A. Represents can help small businesses with include new lease negotiations, applying for business loans or help with interpreting new laws that have taken effect.
Residents of Los Angeles can go to coronavirus.lacity.org/larepresents to seek the free legal services.
Garcetti said although he hopes to speak later this week about some businesses and facilities that could reopen soon, he repeated his message from Monday that the city would not make changes to its Safer at Home orders until consensus is reached with county health officials and neighboring cities.
However, he said wholesale flower distributors have been allowed to reopen Tuesday, under certain circumstances, because they are exempt from the state's COVID-19 orders as agricultural businesses.
Garcetti said the flower markets are being monitored and they could be shut down if they do not follow the city's social distancing guidelines.
Mother's Day is Sunday, which is regarded as one of the busiest times of the year for florists.
The Los Angeles Flower Market in downtown is one of the largest wholesale distributors of flowers in the United States, according to its website.
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