July 6, 2012
- introduce the VISTA program to legal services organizations that are not familiar with it;
- demonstrate how the VISTA program can work effectively in the context of legal services; and
- provide additional resources for organizations that are interested in sponsoring a VISTA project at their site. Thanks to contributions by 10 current or recent VISTA legal services program sponsors, the Appendix contains more than two dozen sample project descriptions to illustrate the range of ways VISTA members can benefit a legal aid program.
- At the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, VISTA members recruited, coordinated, trained and supported volunteer attorneys and interpreters for a program to assist immigrant victims of domestic violence applying for U.S. citizenship under the Violence Against Women Act and a legal hotline for people denied public benefits. In one two-year period the VISTAs recruited almost 250 volunteer attorneys who contributed 10,000 hours of legal services annually and served more than 1,100 clients.
- Minnesota Legal Services used their VISTA members to update and enhance a statewide legal help website, www.LawHelpMN.org, adding hundreds of additional resources to the site including a “LiveHelp” chat navigational assistance tool and Somali and Spanish language versions of the website.
- Prairie State Legal Services VISTA members created a mortgage foreclosure helpdesk at an Illinois county courthouse that has provided legal information to more than 1,500 people.
- A Montana Legal Services Association VISTA conducted a legal needs survey in Montana.
- Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and Prairie State Legal Services all used VISTA members to launch and coordinate medical-legal partnerships with local hospitals and community health clinics.
- The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota used VISTAs to help with grant writing and prospecting.
Related blog posts
November 30, 2016
“Equal access to justice…advances the missions of an array of federal programs, particularly those designed to lift Americans out of poverty or to keep them securely in the middle class,” said President Obama in his 2015 Presidential Memorandum formally establishing the Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, a collaboration that began in 2012, as a White House initiative. Today, the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (WH-LAIR) published its first annual report, entitled “ Expanding Access...
Updated November 30, 2016
September 26, 2012
The following post appears courtesy of Mary Lou Leary, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs In March of this year President Obama directed his Cabinet to redouble efforts to eliminate human trafficking—or modern-day slavery—which afflicts more than 20 million people around the world, including in communities here at home. Yesterday, building on the strong record of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and its...
Updated September 15, 2014
April 22, 2014
What does civil legal aid have to do with preventing homelessness among veterans and securing a job? And what does the Federal Government have to do with civil legal aid? Often times, a lot. “ 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...
Updated August 11, 2015
October 24, 2013
This October, as we recognize National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Office on Violence Against Women joins communities across our country in celebrating the tremendous progress we have made over the past nineteen years in creating safer homes, safer communities and a safer Nation. Unfortunately, this message is clouded by the recent government shutdown that coincided with the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the continued financial insecurity organizations, tribes,...
Updated July 26, 2016
Updated September 15, 2014