Pro Bono News
Texas Veterans Deserve Fair and Equitable Access to the Justice System (TX)
Sunday, November 10, 2019
- Abilene Reporter News
Texas Veterans Deserve Fair and Equitable Access to the Justice System
"On this Veterans Day, we honor the brave men and women in uniform for the sacrifices they’ve made and continue to make for our safety and freedom. Sadly, once back home, many of our veterans have a difficult time making ends meet. Many suffer from other challenges, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, which can create difficulties finding and keeping a job. Among the challenges veterans face when reintegrating into civilian life is accessing the legal help they need.
Texas has the second-highest population of veterans in the country, and a distressing number of Texas veterans are poor or homeless. Some 5.6 million Texans, including a significant number of our veterans, qualify for legal aid. Legal issues account for three of the top 10 unmet needs of homeless veterans, according to the annual survey of homeless and formerly homeless veterans by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
So, how do Texas veterans facing legal issues get help? Legal aid programs, local bar associations, law schools and pro bono lawyers are part of the fabric of providing civil legal aid. They have all assisted veterans who are wrongly denied critical medical care, disability and other benefits, or who need help with family matters arising from deployment.
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created in 1984 to provide funding for civil legal aid in Texas, is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of income. The foundation recently awarded more than $6 million in two-year grants to 13 Texas legal aid providers to provide civil legal services to low-income veterans. In 2018, TAJF grantees helped nearly 9,000 veterans obtain access to the justice system.
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation has also established the Joe Jamail Endowment for Veteran Legal Services, a fund that ensures that Texas veterans have access to legal help. Since its inception in 2017, the endowment has raised more than $878,000. These funds will go a long way to secure free legal services for our veterans.
In addition, this week (Nov. 10-16) has been designated Texas Veterans Legal Aid Week. Clinics and workshops will be held throughout the state to provide assistance for qualified veterans who need help with critical civil legal issues. To find a clinic in your area, visit texaslawhelp.org/tvlaw-2019..."