Name of Host Organization: Inner City Law Center
City, State: Los Angeles, California
Issue area: Health Care/Medical-Legal Partnership
Sponsors: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP
Jonathan formed the “Lawyers Partnership to Serve Veterans” medical-legal partnership (MLP) with the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center (VAMC) in order to provide chronically homeless and low-income veterans with legal services focused on achieving income and housing stability.
Need Addressed By Project
This medical-legal partnership will provide legal assistance to chronically homeless veterans who are among the poorest and most vulnerable in Los Angeles. More than 8,000 veterans sleep on the city's streets on a given night. There is no formalized system that connects VAMC patients with nonprofit attorneys who can remove barriers to accessing disability benefits and stable housing. As a result, veterans remain homeless. Connecting veterans with legal services at the VAMC through an MLP where they seek medical treatment is the best entry point to screen veterans for needed legal assistance. An attorney is necessary to assist where benefits are wrongfully denied and where the veteran must establish service-connection of the disability, particularly in the case of mental health disabilities.