January 01, 2017

The ABA Is Working to Expand Veterans Treatment Courts and Veterans’ Legal Services

By ABA President Linda Klein

Phyllis, an elderly veteran, was disabled, homeless, and losing hope. She had lost her identification card and all her personal paperwork and, as a result, couldn’t apply for food stamps, housing, and other assistance.

But Phyllis went to Stand Down—a program providing food supplies, clothing, health screenings, and benefits counseling to homeless veterans. Legal Aid of Wyoming attorneys were there, and one helped Phyllis apply for a new Social Security card, a copy of her birth certificate, and a state-issued identification card. Her Legal Aid lawyer helped Phyllis access Medicaid, food stamps, and veterans’ benefits.

Phyllis is one of the lucky ones. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has estimated that almost 40,000 veterans are homeless. Veterans make up 20 percent of the male homeless population, while the fastest-growing homeless population in America is women veterans. And more than 13 percent of our nation’s heroes live near or below the poverty line.

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