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Just Help: Elkhart County Legal Advocacy Center helps Elkhart County residents access quality, timely and affordable legal services.
- Respect - treating each other with dignity regardless of our differences
- Excellence - setting high standards for how we achieve our mission, and working to meet them
- Integrity - being honest in our strengths and in our weaknesses
- Empowerment - giving clients the tools to become active participants in resolving their legal issues
- Justice - ensuring those without power are given fair treatment
- Compassion - practicing grace in our relationships with clients, staff, and board
- Teamwork - influencing decisions through earned respect and collaboration rather than hierarchy or status
- Diversity - recognizing that we are both challenged and enriched as we work with people who bring a variety of backgrounds and views.
Just Help's model of legal aid includes:
All clients that contact Just Help will be evaluated for eligibility for other local resources. If their legal need can be met elsewhere and if they meet criteria for receiving such services, they will be referred to other community organizations.
- Clients wanting immigration counseling will be referred to La Casa.
- Clients wanting representation in a child custody dispute who make less than 125% of the federal poverty guideline (FPG) will be referred to Elkhart Legal Aid.
- Clients who want assistance with foreclosure will be referred to a local HUD counselor.
- Clients appropriate for pro bono services will be referred to the Volunteer Lawyer Network.
Clients who come seeking legal advice will be offered discounted consultations with a staff attorney. Such counseling could include answering questions about the advisability of filing for bankruptcy, contesting a child custody ruling, or handling legal issues pro se. Just Help will collaborate with the Volunteer Lawyer Network’s "Ask-a-Lawyer" clinics and hold workshops to assist low income and Spanish speaking clients in preparing basic legal documents such as wills and powers of attorney.
The staff attorney(s) will provide discounted legal representation to eligible clients based on a sliding fee scale. Such services will be available in English and Spanish. Cases appropriate for mediation will be referred to local mediators who agree to work with Just Help according to a sliding fee scale.
Gaps in local services for low income clients that currently exist according to our research include:
- Services for low income clients making more than 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline
- Services in Spanish
All clients completing intake by Just Help will be tracked to ensure their legal need is appropriately addressed. Follow up phone calls to those referred to other organizations and attorneys will ensure clients do not get lost in the process.
- Lauren Dye
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