Civil Legal Aid Supports Federal Efforts to Help Prevent Domestic Violence
Civil Legal Aid Supports Federal Efforts to Help People with Criminal Records make a Successful Reentry
Civil Legal Aid Supports Federal Efforts to Help Veterans and Servicemembers
Civil Legal Aid Supports Federal Efforts to Help Keep Children in School
Civil Legal Aid Supports Federal Efforts to Help People Exit Homelessness and Stay Housed
Civil Legal Aid Supports Federal Efforts to Help People Access Health Care
The Access to Justice Initiative will continue to post case studies on new topics throughout the year.
“Nazia,” a 37-year-old immigrant from Guyana, fled with her two young children from the physical and emotional abuse of her husband. With the assistance of Legal Services Corporation-funded Queens Legal Services (QLS), a recipient of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Family and Youth Services Bureau funding, she successfully obtained an Order of Protection and full custody of her children. However, shortly thereafter, Nazia’s abuser retaliated by filing for a modification of custody, citing frivolous allegations of inappropriate parenting. Her legal aid lawyer continued to represent her and also referred Nazia to a QLS social worker, who provided counseling to her and her children throughout the process. Again, thanks to her legal aid lawyer, after two years of litigation, Nazia settled the case and retained sole legal custody of her children.
“Andy’s” 10-year old felony conviction prevented him from pursuing his hopes of securing a state license to become a New York Licensed Practical Nurse. The Fortune Society, a grantee of U.S. Department of Labor’s Reintegration of Ex-Offenders Program, referred Andy to MFY Legal Services in New York. His legal aid lawyer helped Andy obtain out-of state criminal court records, gather proof of rehabilitation, and represented him at the initial investigative interview. The result was a successful license application and a job.
When “Clyde” sought medical help from the Philadelphia U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, a social worker learned he had fallen behind on his rent and faced eviction from his apartment. The social worker and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) caseworker recognized Clyde’s need for legal help, and assisted Clyde in getting an appointment with an attorney at the SSVF program’s legal aid partner, Homeless Advocacy Project. With the SSVF program providing some of Clyde’s back rent, the attorney negotiated an agreement to stop the eviction in exchange for a lump sum payment for most of the unpaid rent, plus a payment plan to cover the remainder. With his housing stabilized, Clyde was able to focus on his health needs.
Growing up in a community influenced by gangs, “Carl” was expelled from middle school. Later incarcerated for a juvenile offense, Carl began working with a TeamChild® attorney – partially funded by U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevent – to plan his release and return to school. His attorney successfully advocated for his readmission. When other students threatened Carl he sought help from school administrators who responded by expelling him. His attorney successfully represented him at the hearing and Carl finished the semester. Fearful of the gangs, he left Washington state to live with relatives, and pursue a GED and Job Corps training program. Denied admission because of his juvenile record, his lawyer stepped in yet again, to appeal and document Carl’s determination to get back on track. Job Corps reversed their decision. Carl got his GED and is working hard towards his auto mechanic certificate.
“Frank,” a disabled man living in U.S. Department of Agriculture-subsidized housing in rural Iowa, received an eviction notice from his landlord after neighbors complained that he yelled too much, especially late at night. Attempts by the property manager to talk to Frank about the problem only made it worse. Fearing that he would become homeless, Frank sought help from Legal Services Corporation-funded Iowa Legal Aid. With support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Solutions Grant, Iowa Legal Aid could assist him. Frank’s lawyer realized that his disruptive behavior flowed from untreated mental illness. She met with his property manager and reached out to other professionals to help Frank manage his mental illness. They collaborated on a plan to address the problems and involve his case manager as an intermediary if an issue arose. The property manager agreed to dismiss the eviction, and Frank remained in his home.
“Alex” sought help from Legal Services Corporation-funded Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County because of medical debt that threatened his family with bankruptcy. Unable to purchase affordable insurance in the private market because of his pre-existing condition, Alex’s debt had accrued after several emergency room visits for a severe heart condition that required surgery he could not afford. In addition to helping negotiate his medical bills with the hospital and avoid bankruptcy, his legal aid attorney – thanks in part to support from the Affordable Care Act Consumer Assistance Program funds – helped identify affordable insurance options through California’s Covered CA and new adult Medicaid expansion programs that will help Alex get the surgery he desperately needs.