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: