Houston, Texas – Lone Star Legal Aid is one of nine organizations that serve post 9/11 veterans, service members, and their families chosen by the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) for its spring grants. BWF’s key focus areas are education and employment, quality of life, and rehabilitation and recovery.

BWF was particularly interested in how post-disaster challenges tie in with veteran specific challenges. LSLA and one other of BWF’s nine grantees will embark on strategic outreach in outlying counties of Hurricane Harvey-impacted Texas to identify veterans who have legal barriers to wellbeing, and who are living in substandard conditions due to the effects of the storm and require rebuilding services to fully recover.

According to a Houston Chronicle article, the 2019 Homeless Count Survey found that a total of 3,938 individuals experiencing homelessness in Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery County areas, all areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. According an overview of homeless veterans on the Michael DeBakey website, 28% of homeless in Houston are veterans, 5-10% are women veterans, 45% suffer from mental illness, and with considerate overlap, slightly more than 70% suffer from alcohol and other drug abuse problems.

Survivors of a natural disaster are facing the same issues that veterans face on a daily basis. They’re being evicted or choosing to leave rentals that are uninhabitable, they’re losing their homes in foreclosure after being unable to make the balloon payment after a forbearance, they’re filing for divorce after the inability to make a marriage relationship work, and they’re appealing flood insurance and FEMA home repair denials. By providing legal assistance to veterans after a disaster, we combat the compounded legal issues they’re facing.

“Lone Star Legal Aid is extremely appreciative of the Bob Woodward Foundation’s generous grant.  These funds empower us to reach and serve more Veterans affected by Hurricane Harvey, one of the most damaging storms to ever hit the Texas coast.  With this grant, attorneys and paralegals advocate for those who have served proudly, enabling them to recover from the effects of Harvey. In resolving legal matters, Lone Star Legal Aid is able to help our Veterans return to their homes, stabilize their lives, and regain their dignity,” says Justin Thompson, Managing Attorney of LSLA’s Military Veterans Unit.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org