A team of volunteer students and staff from Harvard Law School’s Legal Services Center partnered with local nonprofit Veterans Legal Services to provide legal advice to more than 120 veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, at Greater Boston Veterans Stand Down 2018. The event, which was held on Sept. 7 at Boston’s City Hall Plaza, brought together more than 100 community providers to help veterans access medical, housing, employment, legal, and other services.
Alongside Veterans Legal Services and pro bono attorneys, Legal Services Center staff volunteered in the legal assistance tent to advise veterans on VA benefits, Chapter 115 state veterans’ benefits, tax debt issues, discharge upgrades and other public benefits. In addition to offering legal advice, LSC staff provided referrals to service providers and, in a few cases, has followed up to explore potential legal representation.
Clinic Attorney Evan Seamone, whose work at LSC is supported through a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in order to provide legal assistance to underserved veterans, reflected on the impact of Stand Down as an outreach event:
“In a noteworthy trend this year, a number of veterans at the legal tent shared that they had learned valuable information at the Stand Down after years of failed attempts. An answer awaited them, but finding it had been a major hurdle,” he said. “This year’s Stand Down underscored the incomparable value of concentrating essential services and resources in a single and accessible place.”