Homeless Veterans Face Eviction for One Reason

Homeless Veterans Can’t Afford Eviction Lawyers

A The Washington Post article from July, “One reason so many veterans are homeless? They can’t afford lawyers,” reports that “New research shows that vets are losing their homes and missing out on crucial benefits because they lack legal aid.”

At a time, when veterans homelessness is being practically eliminated in communities across the United States, this article points out an interesting trend about the solution to veterans homelessness.

Often time, a lawyer intervening on behalf of a homeless person at the point when he or she is facing eviction and homelessness can prevent homelessness from occurring. The issues surrounding eviction translate across most specific homeless or at-risk of homeless populations.

“Facing homelessness once more, Garrett needed a housing solution. But to get one, he urgently needed something else: a lawyer.” David Garrett is a disabled veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who like far too many of his fellow veterans, found himself homeless.

A recent study from Department of Veterans Affairs finds that at least five out of 10 problems leading to homelessness need legal assistance to be solved.

“The survey found that many veterans are able to secure food, medical services and substance-abuse treatment. But for problems that require legal assistance such as fighting evictions, upgrading military discharge status or restoring a driver’s license, many veterans are not receiving the help they need. Legal assistance is often critical to ensure that veterans find justice and get the benefits they have earned — and can keep a roof over their heads.”

The article concludes:

“Emerging partnerships between civil legal-aid and community health and housing organizations can permanently transform veterans’ lives but require investment to meet the need. Most partnerships struggle to leverage existing, scarce legal-aid resources, alongside private philanthropy. The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken steps to raise awareness of legal needs and solutions. Congress can help by passing the veterans omnibus bill, section 608 of which would authorize the VA to provide funding to organizations that provide civil legal services to veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Medical-legal partnerships and other civil legal-aid interventions for veterans show the promise of a holistic approach to veterans care. It’s time to make the investments we must to ensure we don’t leave any veterans behind.”

The Washington Post Article

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