Daily Point of Light #4522 Malcolm A. Meyer
Malcolm A. Meyer volunteers his voice and talent for others.
In his over 500 pro bono hours of legal work and hundreds of hours of community outreach over the last five years, Meyer has helped to save thousands of homes belonging to some of the poorest citizens in Louisiana.
According to a 2008 story by National Public Radio, as many as 20,000 New Orleanians following Hurricane Katrina could not receive needed federal aid to rebuild their homes, because they could not demonstrate ownership of their property.
Before Katrina, heirship property issues seemed to be largely rural phenomenons. It was common among poor farmers who died without a written will for the children of the deceased to inherit the land. As a result, thousands of people throughout Louisiana live in homes that have been passed down several generations, outside of the legal system.
The lack of property titles hurts many of the country's poor, blocking them from using their most important asset to build economic power. Without proof of ownership, they cannot borrow money at low interest rates and invest in new business.
Meyer has become one of the most sought after attorneys by Louisiana government representatives and local officials to help resolve these property issues.
He was also asked by Louisiana state senators to draft new legislation to help people being flooded by the Mississippi River in 2011, to speed access to agencies helping in the repair efforts.
As a result of Meyer’s work and advocacy, the Louisiana legislature explored the adverse effects of ownership of heir property. Meyer provided the background, research and recommendations necessary to develop and implement new legislation. New simplifying legislation was passed in Louisiana in 2009.