/ Blog Post
By Antoinette Balta, 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow hosted by Public Law Center
My name is Antoinette Balta and I am an advocate for our nation’s veterans and service members.
As a 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow, I worked on housing and homelessness issues. I would frequent emergency shelters and meet dozens of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. I couldn’t understand why these service members who had served our country abroad were now struggling to access basic needs like housing.
Inspired to take action against veteran homelessness, I worked with my host organization, the Public Law Center, to design and launch the Operation Veterans Re-Entry, a comprehensive effort to provide critical legal assistance on discharge upgrades, veterans’ benefits, expungements, and other general civil services for our nation’s heroes.
My Equal Justice Works Fellowship furthered my desire to serve and taught me avenues of legal aid to efficiently empower those in need. Through my Equal Justice Works Fellowship, I was able to physically feel and see the difference a public interest attorney can make, fueling my desire to continue in high impact, life changing work.
So, I co-founded the Veterans Legal Institute, which provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless, at-risk, disabled, and low-income current and former service members. Our work relies on outreach, compassion, and empowerment to eradicate barriers to housing, healthcare, education, and employment for veterans.
Being an Equal Justice Works Fellow was a pivotal point in my life and career. It provided me with the opportunity to serve and delve deeper into the idiosyncrasies of public interest. Each day I fight to be a better advocate so that I can leave a legacy of hope and happiness for those around me.
I am proud to be one of the 2,000+ Fellows helping to fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all.
To learn more about Antoinette’s project, visit her Fellow profile.