November 18, 2017
 
Four Mass. Nonprofits Get $350K to Help Veterans Obtain Services

February 23, 2017 — The Massachusetts attorney general's office yesterday announced that it has awarded $350,000 to four nonprofits, in Gardner, Worcester, and Boston, that provide legal assistance to veterans seeking healthcare, housing, and other services.

The funds, which come from a judgment that the Consumer Protection Division secured against Verizon and Sprint, will enable the nonprofits to help several hundred veterans in need across Massachusetts, according to the attorney general's office.

“Fulfilling our commitment to veterans means ensuring that they receive the benefits they have earned through their service to our country,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “With this new grant program, we will be providing hundreds of veterans in Massachusetts with the legal assistance they need to access healthcare, housing, and other services.”

The grants will fund legal assistance to veterans seeking services such as health benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system, housing and education assistance, discharge status upgrades, general legal representation, and veteran-specific employment.

Receiving the two-year grants are the following:
  • Community Legal Aid, Worcester: $95,000 to hire a project attorney to conduct legal training for veteran communities in Worcester, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Berkshire communities. The project attorney will conduct four “know-your-rights” trainings for veterans and mentor private volunteer attorneys. Community Legal Aid estimates it will provide up to 60 veterans with legal representation.

  • The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, Boston: $125,000 to hire an attorney to provide legal representation for discharge status upgrades and veterans benefits claims. The attorney will also conduct outreach to veterans and present legal trainings to services providers on veteran and military law. This grant funding will provide nearly 50 veterans with legal representation.

  • Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center, Gardner: $35,000 to expand its current level of services for veterans, including enhancing its outreach efforts to connect veterans with legal aid organizations. The funding will allow Montachusett to provide legal representation to 44 veterans.

  • Veterans Legal Services, Boston: $95,000 to conduct legal clinics for veterans, send staff to veterans events and connect pro-bono attorneys with veterans cases. The grant funding will provide up to 50 veterans with full legal representation.
“Veterans Legal Services applauds Attorney General Healey for recognizing the critical role that resolving legal issues plays in ending veteran homelessness,” said Anna Richardson, Co-executive director and chief counsel of Veterans Legal Services.

Noting that low-income and disabled veterans in Massachusetts have "vast unmet legal needs," Daniel Nagin, director of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, said, “We are honored to receive grant funding from the Attorney General’s Office to expand our ability to advocate for the men and women who have the worn the uniform and now face barriers to care, financial stability, and other critical supports."

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