LAF is committed to helping the veterans of our community through our Veterans Rights Project. Jack Brewer, the Americorps VISTA in LAF’s Public Benefits Group, has spent the past year dedicating his time to make sure free legal services are more accessible to the veteran population of Cook County. His efforts have been instrumental to serve this vulnerable and valuable group of individuals.
In spring of 2013, LAF developed a free legal clinic for former and current military service members. The clinic is staffed with attorneys who can guide clients through the process of obtaining disability benefits and pensions, upgrading their discharge status, and access to all of our other services. The clinic is located at 1141 S California Avenue which is conveniently right down the street from the Jesse Brown VA medical center, with a shuttle running back and forth. Many veterans who come to the LAF clinic are desperate and feel like they have run into brick wall after brick wall. The staff at the Veterans clinic show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to Jack, the clinic has served double the amount of clients this year, than in past years.
It has been very rewarding for Jack to see the clinic lift individuals and their families out of poverty: “I think it’s great that we are able to connect veterans with legal advice and give them a remedy that can change the course of their lives. Most clients can receive up to $2500 a month, with these benefits they are no longer living in poverty. That’s huge.’
Jack shared a specific story about a client who had a discharge status of other than honorable, when he deserved a general discharge. He had spent years trying to get this fixed. It wasn’t stopping him from getting any benefits, but it was disheartening to him. He was immensely grateful that Jack was able to get his discharge status corrected for him.
Please help us to continue helping veterans and their families by supporting LAF in this year’s Veterans Charity Challenge, which kicks off today. LAF has a chance to win an additional grant of up to $10,000 if we are one of the top three charities. You can make a donation to our fundraising page here.
Jack and the rest of our staff are grateful for the Veterans of our community, and we are all honored we get to serve them and help them get their lives back on track!