Legal Aid has been awarded an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow to help us launch a project that will serve low-income veterans in the District of Columbia. Legal Aid’s efforts will initially focus on issues arising out of child support obligations that pose a barrier to employment. We are working with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and the law firm of Arent Fox to develop an expanded project to address housing and benefits needs as well.
We are thrilled that Jennifer Cheung has accepted the fellowship and will be joining Legal Aid’s staff on September 9. Jennifer has worked the last two and a half years as a staff attorney in the Mental Health Law Project of MFY Legal Services in New York. At MFY she carried an active caseload on a broad range of issues and participated in systemic advocacy.
Arent Fox has adopted the veterans’ project as part of the Senior Attorney Initiative for Legal Services (SAILS), a joint initiative of the Access to Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program. SAILS is working with area law firms to support partners who are transitioning from active firm practice to make a substantial commitment to local legal services organizations. Marc Fleischaker of Arent Fox Chairs SAILS and has committed his firm to work with Legal Aid to serve veterans.
Low-income and homeless veterans face a host of problems from physical and mental disabilities to indifferent and dysfunctional governmental agencies. Barriers to employment or housing stability compound the challenges that they face. This project will be designed target veterans’ unique needs and hopefully by leverage the resources of Legal Aid, the Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Arent Fox, we can make a difference.