Local legal aid offices are gateways for veterans in need of civil legal assistance. Many veterans who served in combat zones are confronting legal problems—such as child custody, employment and homelessness—that are handled on a regular basis by LSC-funded programs. A growing number of these programs are part of established networks with bar association pro bono programs, law school clinics and social services agencies.
Under an initiative begun in 2010, LSC is working to improving access to justice for low-income military veterans and for military families. As part of this initiative, LSC supports StatesideLegal.org, a national Web-based resource developed by Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine with a Technology Initiative Grant from LSC. StatesideLegal.org is a free resource for low-income individuals with a military connection, including veterans, current members of the military, and their families. Information available on the website covers such topics as disability benefits, employment and legal protections for service members confronted with foreclosure proceedings.
LSC also began an awareness campaign, reaching out to the Veterans Affairs Department’s Readjustment Counseling Service, known as the Vet Center Program, to share information about legal services and to create appropriate referral systems to minimize veterans’ frustrations in obtaining advice and representation on civil legal problems.
In recent years, LSC programs have developed several notable initiatives to serve veterans. They include:
The Veterans Justice Project of Legal Services NYC, which partners with veterans' health clinics to provide legal services to veterans, service members and their families that prevent evictions and foreclosure, protect victims of domestic violence, increase and stabilize incomes, and address other legal needs.
The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, a partnership of major Veterans Services Organizations, which provides pro bono representation for pro se appellants before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
The Veterans Justice Center at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, to assist veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless on a wide range of legal issues.
The Veterans’ Rights Project at the Legal Aid Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, to help veterans secure VA benefits and protect their legal rights on consumer, housing and related issues.
The Kentucky Corps of Advocates for Veterans at the Legal Aid Society of Louisville, Ky., a collaboration with the state bar, the courts, the Kentucky Department of Veterans, and Veterans Services Organizations to increase legal assistance available to veterans.
The Veterans Legal Advocacy Project at Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida (CLSMF) helps veterans in 12 central Florida counties obtain Veterans Administration benefits. CLSMF also helps veterans and families with a wide variety of civil legal issues.
To find legal resources for service members, military veterans, and military families near you, visit the "Find Legal Help" section of StatesideLegal.org,