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MidWeek Staff

Providing Access To Justice To Those In Need

By Sergio Alcubilla, director of external relations, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii

“I was at my last stop when I met Legal Aid in Kapolei Park. I was prepared to finish my life – everything was so hopeless – I was alone, my health was bad, and I couldn’t work.”- Anthony

Anthony was living on the beach for 14 years. When his health began to fail, he could no longer work on cars, and he eventually lost his job. On his good days, Anthony collected cans and bottles to recycle and made about $60 a month. Not wanting to be a burden, he eventually lost contact with his family and friends.

Janet Kelly, an attorney at Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, worked with Anthony to help him obtain Social Security and disability benefits, and get the health care that he needed. Janet reaches out to many of the houseless living on Hawaii’s beaches and streets with the hope that many more can turn their lives around.

Founded in 1950, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii is a community-based, nonprofit public-interest law firm dedicated to providing access to justice for those in need. With offices statewide, Legal Aid impacts the lives of nearly 20,000 people each year by meeting the critical legal needs of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Legal Aid has helped people fight illegal evictions, assisted seniors applying for medical and financial assistance, and helped spouses and children out of abusive environments.

Although not everyone needing services can be served because of limited resources and funding, the staff and volunteers of Legal Aid remain dedicated to fulfilling its vision of “Building a Just Society.” Despite these challenges, the very essence of Legal Aid Society of Hawaii can be found in the silent but powerful stories of just some of the people it’s helped. Stories such as Anthony’s: “Due to Legal Aid’s help, I am back on my feet … Now, I am feeling better, living in shelter and getting my life back!”

For more information about Legal Aid Society of Hawaii or to make a contribution, contact me at sealcub@lashaw.org or visit our website at legalaidhawaii.org.

For services, call 536-4302.

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