The Veterans Project at the Northwest Justice Project provides free legal services to financially eligible low income and homeless veterans for civil legal problems that are barriers to housing, employment, and self-sufficiency. Northwest Justice Project has had a fellow the past three years based out of the Seattle office, but we have expanded the program to five attorneys in an effort to effectively cover the entire state.
The statistics show the veteran community simply cannot be ignored if we are concerned with addressing underlying issues of poverty. I am excited to immerse myself into this community, to determine which issues are most pressing and then work together to remove barriers to self-sufficiency.
Our project is designed to assist veterans who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless with child support and other family law issues, as well as driver’s license reinstatement issues due to unpaid child support. Child support issues are one of the top three issues facing homeless veterans. The legal services provided will range from advice and counsel, to paperwork preparation, to representation in court. Pro bono attorneys will be trained to handle cases as well, in order to increase the number of veterans who can be served.
Child support is one of the top three issues facing homeless veterans. It can be a barrier to employment and result in suspended driver’s licenses. By modifying child support orders and reducing past-due child support to reflect the veteran’s current economic situation, the goal is to have veterans begin to make child support payments and reconnect them with their families.
Throughout law school, my internships focused on family law issues for low-income families. This experience will translate into a veteran-focused project. I am passionate about helping the underserved and those in need.
My goals are to modify child support orders for veterans and reduce the amount of arrears owed by the veteran. Ultimately, my goal is to reunite veterans with their children and see that the children are provided for.
The Homeless Veterans Project at the ICLC provides free legal representation to homeless veterans who seek benefits from the VA, discharge upgrades, expungements, and other legal issues. The project also provide clinics at several homeless shelters in the Los Angeles area.
Vicki worked with LawNY’s Legal Services for Veterans Project, which works with the Veterans Outreach Center (VOC), a local service organization that assists veterans with many different needs. At the VOC, LawNY has a permanent placement on site two days a week where I may meet directly with veterans who have legal issues. The Rochester office handles a variety of civil issues involving housing, Fair Housing, SNAP, public benefits, re-entry, powers of attorney, wills, and health care proxies.
Vicki comes from a family full of veterans. Vicki’s grandfather served in the Army during WWII under General Patton in the 14th armored division and was awarded a bronze star medal for meritorious service in a combat zone. Vicki’s father served in the Air Force and was stationed in Kunsan, South Korea and then in Danang, Vietnam while on temporary duty (TDY). Vicki also has 3 uncles that served in the Navy and Air Force Reserve, and a cousin who served in the Marines and was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Vicki is extremely proud of her family members and their contributions to our country. Vicki feels that helping veterans allows her to honor their service and her family.
The Veterans Project and the Northwest Justice Project will identify the civil legal areas affecting veterans and assist in those issues that are a barrier to secure housing, employment, and self-sufficiency.
- Identify service providers in and around the local office
- Conduct outreach programs aimed at service providers
- Distribute contact information throughout veteran communities
I am an advocate for civil legal aid. Many veterans are confronting legal problems that are complicated by their service in combat zones or by disabilities arising from service. Many of the civil legal issues that veterans face are unique and are usually linked to the benefits that veterans are entitled to. I am privileged to have been chosen to serve veteran clients and to help my clients navigate the federal, state, and local governmental agencies that are in place to serve them.
Chautauqua County, in southwestern New York, has many thousands of veterans around the area—from the Second World War to the recently separated and the currently serving. Unfortunately, inadequate housing, poverty, educational issues, and access to representation and legal services (e.g. for wills and powers of attorney) are longstanding problems that a targeted approach to solving information and awareness issues can mitigate and solve.
Service to one’s nation is one of the highest callings possible, and with knowledge and appreciation of the efforts of veterans—like my grandparents, in the Second World War era and my uncle, who was a Marine—I want to be able to help assist them with what I learned in law school and beyond.
The goal of the Veterans Project is to provide civil legal aid services to veterans whose income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Veterans frequently face barriers to housing, employment and income maintenance due to prior convictions, accessibility to public benefits, and lack of knowledge about rights or responsibilities. Some cases the Veterans Project has handled include child support modifications, negotiations, initial benefits applications, representation in housing issues, and some criminal record vacating. I’ve also connected with
One of the collateral duties I served in the Navy was as a division career counselor. It was a lot like lawyering and social work. I interviewed peers about their goals, researched opportunities, and matched peers with opportunities which would help them reach their goals. I do feel as if my status as a veteran has helped me connect with clients because we understand the same language and have experienced the same culture, regardless of other traits in our backgrounds.
I will provide a range of legal services to central Ohio veterans, while partnering with local nonprofits and government agencies to ensure the most comprehensive approach to meeting clients’ needs.
I would say this work is, on some level, a tribute to the veterans in my family—most notably my grandfather, who served in the Air Force for many years before working for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
My work builds upon Northwest Justice Project’s existing, Seattle-based Veterans Project. I will be the first attorney doing full-time, free civil legal aid for homeless and at-risk veterans in four counties between Seattle and the Canadian border. My work will also bring specific focus to reaching women veterans, whose distinct experiences and perspectives deserve specialized outreach and advocacy. I will empower these underserved populations of veterans by focusing on direct assistance and representation; recruiting, training, and supporting pro bono attorneys; developing training materials; and developing walk-in, community-based clinics.
A broader goal during the course of this Fellowship is to facilitate the set-up of a Veterans Treatment Court in Snohomish County that will fit the needs of the veterans and the community. The end goal in serving these veterans with their civil legal needs is to help them overcome barriers to housing, employment, education, etc. so that each of their lives can be more stable, and they can become self-sufficient, contributing members of our society.
The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) provides a variety of legal services to poor and low income people in Los Angeles County. The Veterans Justice Center (VJC) at LAFLA addresses the legal needs of homeless and at-risk veterans using a holistic approach to not only assist a veteran in obtaining the government benefits he or she is entitled to, but also in removing barriers to improving quality of life. These barriers may include issues with citations, criminal records, and/or child support. My project with LAFLA focuses on assisting veterans with government benefits and issue spotting for other legal problems that the VJC can assist with.
As a native Angeleno, I have long been aware of the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles. Through volunteer and school work I learned about the many challenges that face the homeless population, and working toward the eradication of homelessness became a cause that was and is close to my heart. Although my Peace Corps service (Kenya/Botswana ’07-’09) and my legal education took me away from LA for a few years, I knew that I would eventually come back to my home and work in public service to help improve the lives of marginalized people.