FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2008
EL PASO, Texas – The Legal Clinic for the Homeless, formerly a program of the Opportunity Center for the Homeless in El Paso, is now a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the leading provider of legal aid in Texas. The merger of the Legal Clinic into TRLA will expand the free legal services available to the city’s homeless community.
Started in 2003, the Legal Clinic for the Homeless is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. In its four years of operation, the Legal Clinic has served more than 1,000 homeless individuals in El Paso. Legal services provided to the homeless include representation in civil legal matters such as divorce actions, child support, child custody, housing rights, employment, and public benefits.
According to clinic director and TRLA attorney Jamye Boone Ward, “TRLA’s reputation for helping the El Paso community made the partnership a natural fit. The Legal Clinic for the Homeless is looking forward to continuing our legal services under TRLA.”
The El Paso Coalition for the Homeless estimates that more than 10,000 people are homeless in the area each year. More than half of the city’s homeless community is comprised of women and children. It is estimated that nearly 60% of the clients served by the Legal Clinic suffer from disabilities, primarily mental illness.
TRLA Executive Director David Hall added, “The Legal Clinic for the Homeless has been a major asset in El Paso for nearly five years. TRLA is proud to be a part of their work and to continue to serve the El Paso community.”
Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services.