Kimberly M. Adams
Name of Host Organization: Community Legal Aid Services
City, State: Akron, Ohio
Issue area: Veterans' Rights
Sponsors: The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation
Kimberly’s Boots on the Ground Veterans Justice Project brought together veterans, attorneys, health care and social services providers, and the larger community to identify and address the civil legal needs of veterans and their families.
Need Addressed By Project
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 165,000 veterans reside in the Central Northeast Ohio region served by Community Legal Aid Services (CLAS)—nearly 10 percent of the population. The CLAS service area includes the cities of Akron, Canton, and Youngstown, but also includes the rural counties of Wayne and Columbiana at the northern end of Appalachia. Economic recession and loss of manufacturing jobs have resulted in high rates of poverty, unemployment, and home foreclosure. Many veterans—especially those with service-related physical or mental disabilities—need advocates to help them obtain veterans or public benefits and address other legal issues as they reintegrate into the community. It is essential to reach out to veterans, educate them about their rights, and inform them of services at their disposal.