Jovanda C. Spain

The Project

The Elder Abuse Prevention Project provides high quality legal services to elders who have been victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the Greater Boston area.

The Project was dedicated to ensuring that older adults in the greater Boston area live free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Many older adults living in Massachusetts are vulnerable due to isolation, physical and/or mental impairments, and dependence on others, especially family members. This vulnerability makes them easy targets for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect, financial exploitation, and fraud. The project was designed to provide legal representation to elders to ensure that they have the income, health care and services that they need to live independently in the community. Jovanda’s work promoted affordable housing for seniors, access to quality health care, Social Security or SSI income.

Fellowship Highlights

The project has been successful in the preservation of housing for elders by defending against evictions from public and subsidized housing. It has ensured economic security for elders through the provision of Social Security/SSI benefits to uplift elders out of poverty. It has been effective in strengthening access to health care for elders in order that their right to quality affordable health care becomes a reality.

Next Steps

Jovanda hopes to begin a career in legal services and work to defend and preserve the rights of low-income people who face injustices. Her interest in wanting to be an advocate for the community is simple; she wants to make a difference in people’s lives and enable them to achieve what would otherwise not be possible.

The Project

Calissa provided direct legal representation and support to residents of Baltimore City, aged 60 and over, who were victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Calissa provided high quality legal services to low-income older adults who have been victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. In addition to providing direct legal representation to victims, Calissa helped to create a network of lawyers dedicated to elder justice issues and bringing greater public awareness about elder abuse. Calissa’s work through this project gave a voice to senior victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Fellowship Highlights

Over the course of a year, Calissa was able to assist several clients with elder justice issues including stopping ongoing physical and psychological abuse, recovering funds that seniors lost due to financial exploitation, and assisting seniors with advanced planning to stop ongoing abuse and prevent future abuse.

Next Steps

Calissa is now a Staff Attorney at Senior Legal Services where she continues to assist low-income older adults with their civil legal needs.

 

The Project

Mark provides legal services and community outreach to low income elders of Cook County, Illinois who are facing legal issues related to abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

The vulnerable elderly population in the Greater Chicago Area is growing. Elderly clients are in need of a victim advocate to providing legal consultation and representation. These individuals suffer various forms of elder abuse and need assistance with matters such as powers of attorney, guardianships, monitoring credit reports, etc.

 

The Project

Provide legal services and community outreach to low-income elders of Cook County, Illinois who are facing legal issues related to abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

The vulnerable elderly population in the Greater Chicago Area is growing. Elderly clients are in need of a victim advocate to providing legal consultation and representation. These individuals suffer various forms of elder abuse and need assistance with matters such as powers of attorney, guardianships, monitoring credit reports, etc.

The Project

Provide civil legal assistance and legal recovery resources to elders who are victims of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. The Project assists qualifying elders in, for example, obtaining and sustaining public benefits, acquiring and maintaining safe housing, and receiving nursing home or Home & Community Based Services where appropriate. All of these needs intersect with one another and often require the assistance of legal counsel to navigate.

The Project

As a Fellow in the Elder Justice AmeriCorps program, Andrew assisted vulnerable older Iowans who are often victimized by family, friends, and caretakers without consequence. While there are governmental avenues for addressing elder abuse in Iowa, many victims do not meet the legal criteria necessary for government intervention. Many low-income victims cannot afford or otherwise access an attorney who can help. Andrew vindicated the rights of Iowans who experienced elder abuse and educated the public about the issue.

Fellowship Highlights

Andrew’s work representing one low-income and disabled older Iowan who was being financially exploited by her Social Security representative payee led to the exploiter’s criminal prosecution after it was discovered the payee had been purchasing steak and beer for herself with the victim’s limited income. Andrew represented another older, disabled Iowa woman in successfully obtaining an elder abuse protection order against the two adults who had taken control of her home, were using drugs inside it, threatening the client, living in squalor, and refusing to leave. In another case, Andrew helped bring to light evidence that his client’s daughter, who had civilly committed the client for mental illness, stole her credit card and went on a spending spree while the victim was confined.

Next Steps

After the Fellowship, Andrew joined the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Department of Justice as Assistant Iowa Attorney General. He protects consumers from health fraud, door-to-door sales regulation violations, government imposter scams, fraudulent mailer solicitations, and other similar activities. Andrew seeks consumer restitution, injunctive relief, and civil penalties on behalf of Iowa and often prosecutes those who target older Iowans. His work has returned thousands of dollars to hundreds of Iowa consumers and permanently ceased many scammer companies and individuals from operating in Iowa.

Media

Where Are They Now: Equal Justice Works Alumni Reflections Panel

The Project

Eric Charette provided legal assistance to older adults in order to assist victims of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation and empower disenfranchised individuals so that they can secure the justice they deserve.

Abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of older adults is an unfortunately growing problem that is grossly under reported and thus, victims of these abuses are underserved. The older adult population is in need of accessible legal assistance in order to give them the power, resources, and protection necessary to confront their abusers and secure justice for themselves.

 

The Project

Represent adults 60 and older in abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation cases. This project ensures that elders are taken care of in later life through guardianship or power of attorneys. The project protects elders from abusive situations and financial exploitation and connects the community senior service providers to create a support system for elders.