Allison Higley

The Project

There are nearly 22 million veterans in the United States, with approximately 2 million veterans living within the state of California. Nationwide projections indicate that 1 in 4 of the homeless population is a veteran due to issues with finding employment, physical disability, and mental health. Veterans Legal Institute (VLI) provides pro bono legal assistance  to low income and homeless veterans to help them access justice and achieve higher incomes, improve healthcare, secure housing, and improve family stability.

Allison will provide assistance with eviction defense, and connect veterans to housing resources and SSFV funds to prevent veteran homelessness. She will assist veterans with service connected disability claims to improve their access to healthcare and receipt of compensation for their disabilities, as well as complete and submit discharge upgrade petitions for veterans that are currently ineligible to receive benefits because of their discharge. Allison will prepare expungements and represent veterans at hearings to clear their criminal records and remove barriers to employment.

The Inspiration

Allison attended University of California at San Diego where she majored in Political Science and International Relations, and minored in Middle Eastern Studies and Law, with the intention of going into the Air Force as an officer. While working on her undergraduate degree, she decided to go to law school and to pursue a career as a Judge Advocate Officer in the Air Force. After witnessing the issues faced by her family members, friends, and the veterans served by the organizations she volunteered with, she was drawn to learning more about the social and legal issues that affect our active and retired service members, and wanted to become someone that could affect positive change in the veteran community.

The Project

Maureen proposed a partnership between Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, a non-profit legal aid organization, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The partnership linked attorneys with health care professionals and teachers to allow them to band together to advocate for their patients who needed services and to provide educational materials and training for the families of children who have disabilities.

What’s Next

Maureen van Stone currently serves as the director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute and the director of Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), a MCDD community-based program.

Media

Kennedy Krieger Institute Appoints Maureen van Stone as Director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

Project HEAL helps families navigate the disabilities maze

Changing Lives Through Medical-Legal Partnerships

The Project

Roberto provided access to justice for low-income residents of Orange County, California by providing direct legal assistance to low-income clients in the areas of dissolution, child custody, paternity, domestic violence, adoptions, guardianships, and conservatorships. Roberto used a combination of legal counseling, document preparation, court representation, community education, and legal clinic coordination, including staffing a courthouse based guardianship clinic.

The Project

At the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), I assist legal permanent residents in obtaining citizenship status by coordinating citizenship application support workshops. In addition, I coordinate APALC’s immigration clinics, where attendees come in for advice and counsel on a host of immigration issues, ranging from deportation to adjustment of status.

Media

The Project

Gregory protected low-income individuals and communities of color from ever-increasing rates of mortgage fraud and real estate scams. Additionally, Gregory addressed these issues through litigation and collaboration with various government and non-profit agencies.

The Inspiration