One of the problems with legal help online is the lack of national nonprofits that offer legal help. Legal aid in the US is very local, with county or state legal aid groups providing information and services to people. And most legal help websites have been created at the state level, to provide that state’s legal info.
The issue is that it’s hard for this loose network of organizations and their websites to surface online. There is not one official list of which org or site is reliable.
Search engines and social media sites tend to surface national sites more easily, especially because these national sites get more links, have more resources, create more content, and thus are more optimized for SEO discovery. Local sites tend to be less resourced and surfaced much less.
What are the key national public interest sites that might be brokers for legal help seekers? These national sites could be brokers — directing Internet users to high-quality local sites. Here are some of the national sites that could be rich expertise, local handoffs, and authoritative basic introductions to topics:
CFPB tenant help site
The federal agency places quite high in many search results right now. Their page on housing problems, tenant help, and rent assistance has FAQs, step-by-steps, links to local legal aid groups, and overviews of legal protections.
USA.gov housing site
This general federal government site has some ‘problem area’ overarching pages. The Usa.Gov page has links to local agencies and websites. It also gives a high-level overview of rights, laws, and rules.
HUD agency site for tenants
For housing issues, this national government agency site has webpages full of links. There is not much FAQ or help content right now. But HUD could be playing a broker role.