The Veterans Relief Project provides a broad range of civil legal services for veterans and their families.
The Veterans Relief Project’s services avert homelessness by preventing evictions and foreclosures; build and preserve economic security by helping clients qualify for federal and state benefits; protect income and benefits from abusive debt collection practices; and strengthen families by solving child support problems.
The majority of cases in this project begin as referrals from community partners. Legal Aid collaborates with organizations already providing a range of services to veterans and supplements their work by providing access to justice to a population that has historically been underserved. Referral agencies include Kansas City VA Medical Center, the Salvation Army Kansas City, Catholic Charities of Kansas City – St. Joseph and reStart, Inc.
In 2012, the Veterans Administration surveyed veterans and asked them to rank their most critical “unmet needs” that contributed to their homelessness. Four of the top 10 needs veterans identified involved legal assistance.
For many Missouri veterans, access to justice is beyond their financial means, yet it is critically needed for a veteran’s successful transition to civilian life. Veterans face legal issues that are barriers to employment, family stability, and economic security.
Often, these legal problems are compounded by the physical and mental injuries sustained in the combat. Post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries or alcohol and drug dependencies can complicate what otherwise might be a straight-forward legal problem. If not resolved, many of these legal issues result in loss of housing and employment.