Many people living in poverty face both civil legal issues and ongoing medical problems, which can often exacerbate the other. Michelle Wetzel, Howard Brown’s Senior VP of Policy, Strategy, and Business Development explained: “For those experiencing eviction or having their electricity shut off, having to choose between paying your bills or paying for your medicine is a dilemma that no one should have to face. And we know that choosing the former can have disastrous health consequences. Having the medical-legal clinic in-house gives our providers the resource to help their patients meet these challenges.”
“Working on site [at Howard Brown’s Sheridan location, where the clients are] will allow us to develop strong relationships with clinic participants in an environment that is comfortable and supportive. And through robust collaboration and relying on each other’s strengths, LAF and ALCC are committed to working together to provide the highest-quality legal advice and legal representation possible,” said Diana White, Executive Director of LAF.
And Ruth Edwards, HIV Project Director and Senior Attorney at ALCC, emphasized that this clinic has incredible potential. “We are confident that this program will strengthen and grow, ensuring that no one falls through the gaps. We believe that everyone deserves equal access to legal assistance.”
The goal of this program is to address the underlying legal issues that can cause health problems for people living in poverty like so many of LAF’s clients, and LAF is proud to partner with the teams at Howard Brown Health Center and AIDS Legal Council of Chicago to make equal justice a reality and work together to break the cycle of poverty.