Legal Aid of West Virginia (LAWV) is working to raise thirty-two thousand dollars ($32,000) in matching funds for its highly successful Veteran’s Legal Project by June 30, 2014. The goal is to involve businesses, individuals and government in a partnership to support critical legal services, helping West Virginia’s veterans overcome problems preventing self-sufficiency.
Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, stepped up and secured over seven thousand dollars ($7,000) toward reaching the fundraising goal.
“Sometimes a lawyer is needed to cut through the red tape, and that’s what the Veterans Legal Project provides,” said Fleischauer. “At this time of year, it is especially important to ensure that our homeless veterans, who sacrificed for us, get the help they need to find a place to live that is safe and warm,” she added.
The West Virginia Veterans Legal Project is in its fourth year. L.G. Corder, an Iraq war veteran and recent WVU College of Law graduate, is in his second year of a two year fellowship. With offices in Morgantown at Legal Aid and at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Clarksburg, Mr. Corder concentrates on stabilizing veterans’ housing and employment, and obtaining needed benefits.
The direct services Corder provides are evaluated based on the outcome for veterans. “My work plan for this year,” he explained, “is to serve over 100 veterans, file 60 or more cases and obtain at least 30 positive outcomes.”
To meet the goal of obtaining the matching funds to fully fund Mr. Corder’s position, LAWV is reaching out to employers and citizens in North Central West Virginia. According to Adrienne Worthy, Executive Director of LAWV, after this goal is met, LAWV will attempt to raise money for an additional year for a new attorney for the Veterans Legal Project in North Central West Virginia.
“The need is just as great in other parts of the state,” said Worthy, “so we hope to expand services to eventually include offices at all four VA Hospitals in West Virginia.”
Corder said it is an honor to be able help fellow veterans get the services they deserve. “Each time I assist with a veteran with a financial problem or get a result that turns someone’s life in a more positive direction, it makes me really glad I obtained a law degree,” he said.
Fleischauer was able to tap into Legislative Digest funds that had been placed in an escrow account for a project that could not be completed. She urged anyone interested in donating to send contributions to the Veterans Legal Project, Legal Aid of West Virginia: 922 Quarrier Street, Charleston, WV 25301.