OC Women2Women is thrilled to support the Veterans Legal Institute in their effort to provide pro bono veterans legal assistance to homeless and low income current and former service members so as to eradicate barriers to housing, education, employment and healthcare and foster self-sufficiency. Not everyone can serve in the military, but everyone can be a patriot. With the majority of their clients being female, outlined below are three summaries of how Veterans Legal Institute empowered female veterans. Names have been changed for purposes of client confidentiality.
Jennifer was working at a mid-sized company and would often stay late and not take lunches making approximately $32k per year. After a disagreement with her boss, he told her that the company no longer needed her services. When Jennifer went to collect unemployment, her boss indicated that she left on her own volition and should not get any unemployment. Jennifer was unable to pay her rent and was eventually evicted from her apartment. This weighed heavily on her as a woman of pride who has served in the US military and had lived on her own for years. Jennifer contacted Veterans Legal Institute (VLI) to see if an attorney could represent her at her EDD hearing the following week. VLI was able to find Jennifer an attorney to advocate for her rights and eventually win her unemployment benefits. Further, the attorney sued the employer for violating many of Jennifer’s rights and was able to win a sizeable award so that Jennifer is no longer homeless.
Esther is a 98 year old WWII veteran who served in the Army. Due to her health. Esther, who lives off of social security, owns a home and wanted to ensure the home would be left to one of her daughters. Esther approached Veterans Legal Institute who immediately placed her with a pro bono attorney who finalized her estate planning needs. Esther commented that in her late years she can be at ease knowing that she has good estate planning tools in pace that reflect her final wishes.
Janice is a Marine Corps veteran who served for several years honorably. She had outstanding marks until one day she was raped by a fellow Marine. Janice subsequently disengaged from her unit and stopped showing up to duty. Eventually Janice was separated from the military with a less than honorable discharge. Veterans Legal Institute was able to come in and formulate an argument for Janice, preparing a discharge upgrade to the Discharge Review Board so as to restore Janice’s dignity and veteran benefits.
For real-life video testimonials and details about Veterans Legal Institute, view the video below.
Mark your calendar for Thursday, May 12th 2016 where OC Women2Women’s annual “Driving Forward in Style” event will benefit the Veterans Legal Institute. We are dedicated to helping them effectively serve even more women by hiring one full-time attorney. All attorney work is currently provided by attorneys pro bono.