LSC’s Veterans Task Force: Building Strong Community Networks for Veterans

LSC's Veterans Task Force is working to increase access to justice for veterans. Monday’s field hearing explored how legal aid can remove barriers to veterans’ well-being and financial stability.

Civil legal assistance for veterans is of vital importance. LSC’s 2017 Justice Gap Report found that 71% of low-income households with veterans or other military personnel had experienced a civil legal problem within the past year. The most recent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs annual survey of homeless veterans found that four of their top twelve unmet needs involve legal assistance. An additional four of the highest unmet needs frequently have a legal component.

For veterans struggling with foreclosures, evictions, wrongful denials of benefits and other problems, local legal aid offices act as a critical gateway for help. Nearly 1.7 million veterans are eligible for LSC-funded legal aid.

The second panel, "Building Strong Community Networks for Veterans," will look at community network models to identify best practices for connecting veterans to the services they need. The panelists include John Boerstler, Executive Director, Combined Arms; Nan Heald, Executive Director, Pine Tree Legal Assistance; Francisco “Cisco” Martinez, a veteran and client of Mission United of Broward County; Stephen Moss, Partner, Holland & Knight; and Zach Zarnow, Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network and Project Manager, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation. Lara Eilhardt, Senior Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs, will serve as moderator and DLA Partner Rich Hans will introduce the panelists.