CLS Launches Re-Entry Legal Clinic, NJP Launches Veteran’s Legal Project, More Poverty Law News and Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition

Columbia Legal Services Launches Re-Entry Legal Clinic

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Pro bono attorneys and law students needed!

Re-entry Clinic: Addressing the legal needs of people turning their lives around after a criminal conviction.

What is the Re-Entry Clinic? It provides free legal services to low-income men and women with criminal records trying to reenter society, but facing barriers to a successful reentry.

What legal issues does the clinic address? Legal financial obligations (fees, fines and restitution) and access to employment and housing.

How does it work? Volunteer attorneys attend the clinic for about 2.5 hours to provide legal advice and counsel. Law students volunteer as legal assistants. Volunteers can assist at the clinic as often as s/he likes, but we ask for a minimum of four times per year. A staff attorney will be at the clinic to assist.

Where are the clinics held? There are two.  One is located at the Public Law Library of King County the second Monday of the month from 2:45-4:45pm. The other is at FareStart the fourth Tuesday of the month from 2:40-4:30pm.

Will there be training? Yes. Please join us on December 2, 9am-3:30pm at Perkins Coie for a CLE on reentry law. Topics include: fair credit reporting act, legal financial obligations, housing law and employment screening.

Where can I learn more info? Please email Nick Allen at Columbia Legal Services.

Northwest Justice Project Announces Expanded Legal Services for Veterans

NJP_LogoNJP’s Veterans Project provides free legal services for civil problems that are barriers to housing, employment, and self-sufficiency. The Veterans Project also focuses on women veterans who face greater barriers to accessing services and often require special outreach and services to deal with service-related sexual abuse trauma.

In addition to performing direct outreach to low-income and at-risk veterans, the Veterans Project team of attorneys coordinates with veterans’ social services, health and housing providers, and Veterans Treatment Courts. Veterans Project attorneys are located in Spokane, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and Everett and provide services statewide.

The Veterans Project provides legal advice, representation, and referrals on a variety of civil legal issues including:

  • Child Support (modification and arrears forgiveness)
  • Vacating Criminal Convictions / Records
  • Consumer Law
  • Housing Issues
  • Veteran’s benefits, and state public / health benefits
  • Discharge Upgrades (less than 15 years old)

Veterans can call NJP’s Veterans Project directly.  The toll free, statewide Veterans Project number is: 1-855-NJP-VETS (855-657-8387).

Veterans facing issues not listed above can apply online or call NJP’s CLEAR line to find out if they qualify for free legal aid.

Op Ed- A Dream Deferred: The Right to Food in America

Huff Post Food for Thought

October 30, 2013–by Smita Narula and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Huffington Post

Last month, the USDA reported that 49 million Americans live in “food insecure” households, meaning they cannot afford adequate food for themselves or their families. In other words, nearly one in six individuals in the richest country in the world is struggling to put food on the table. Hunger in the United States is not the result of a shortage of food or resources — it is the direct result of poverty perpetuated through policies that fail to prioritize Americans’ fundamental needs.

On the heels of the USDA report, the House voted to cut $40 billion over the next ten years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the nation’s largest anti-poverty program. Under the House version of the farm bill, 3.8 million individuals would lose their SNAP benefits in 2014 alone, and an estimated 210,000 children would be kicked off of free school lunch programs. On November 1, SNAP recipients will see an automatic decline in their benefits when a temporary boost to the program (voted in as part of the 2009 Recovery Act) ends.

The impact of these assaults on our nutrition assistance programs will be felt over a generation and possibly beyond. Children who do not receive adequate nutrition — including prenatally — are at risk of serious health and developmental problems. Hungry children struggle to learn in school and, according to a report by Feeding America, are far more likely to experience behavioral problems, increasing the chance that they will drop out of school and decreasing their lifetime earning potential. By failing to adequately feed our children, we are setting them up to fail.

This is a moral failing. It is also a violation of human rights.

For full article please click here. To learn more and to take action against SNAP cuts, please visit: http://hungercliff.org/ or http://frac.org/leg-act-center/

How Crummy, Run-Down Housing Harms the Children Who Live in It

October 24, 2013– By Emily Badger, TheAtlanticCities.com, photo courtesy- The Atlantic

housingThe housing crisis sounded all kinds of alarms for policymakers and the public about what happens when families can’t afford their homes, or when they lose the stability that a secure home provides. We’ve heard about the effects of foreclosures on neighborhoods, the weight ofhousing stress on human health, the impact of lost equity on household wealth for huge portions of the U.S. population.

But something has been absent in all this talk about how unstable housing in any form affects families.

“The attention raised by the mortgage crisis and the foreclosure crisis really missed a lot of central aspects of housing that are likely to be important for children,” says Rebekah Levine Coley, a professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.

Notably, it’s the quality of housing – the presence of peeling paint or cockroaches, broken appliances or damaged walls – that most strongly predicts a child’s well-being and development.

Continue reading here.

World Justice Forum Announces the World Justice Challenge

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About
The World Justice Challenge is an open competition designed to inspire individuals to create initiatives that will strengthen the rule of law where they live and work. It provides an opportunity for individuals to test practical solutions on the ground supported by:
  • Modest seed grants—the typical size of a seed grant is $15,000 to $25,000
  • Connections to others in the WJP’s global network
  • Increased visibility through media and communications support
The WJP believes that everyone is a stakeholder in the rule of law, and that a multidisciplinary approach is essential to creating long-lasting change.

How to Apply

The World Justice Challenge is open to all individuals, organizations, and entities from any country. The competition will launch on November 5 and close January 15. Approximately 10 grantees will be selected by a Selection Panel using the criteria listed in the application. The typical size of a seed grant is $15,000 – $25,000.

For complete info please click here.