Winning Battles for Connecticut Veterans

The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center is assisting more CT veterans facing legal issues each year, and improving its capacity to do so at the same time.

For the past six years, staff and volunteers with Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) have been assisting veterans at the VA's Errera Community Care Center in West Haven in legal matters affecting health, housing, finances, and more.

CVLC Senior Counsel Christy Fisher meets with Veteran Client Abdul-Ali Muhhammad. Photo credit: Desirea Still

CVLC was the first organization in the country to integrate legal assistance into veteran's care by staffing lawyers full-time at a VA facility. This enables a team of VA social workers, psychologists, and other staff work to work alongside CVLC staff and volunteers to resolve each client's set of needs.

With the help of general operating support from The Community Foundation, CVLC has expanded and improved its capacity to help more veterans each year, while also improving its own infrastructure and sustainability.

"The Community Foundation, as one of CVLC's only sources of multi-source funding, has been a key sustaining force in serving the legal needs of veterans in Greater New Haven," says Executive Director and co-founder Margaret Middleton. "The Foundation showed a lot of vision in funding this project in its start-up phase."

In the past year, CVLC attorneys, many of them volunteers, resolved 472 legal issues on behalf of veterans. In one case, a veteran who had originally applied and was denied disability benefits multiple times over a 30 year period was finally granted compensation that will provide him a stable income for the rest of his life.

In addition to funding, The Community Foundation provided the Core Capacity Assessment Tool at no charge to CVLC. This tool allowed the nonprofit to identify strengths and opportunities for organizational growth, focusing time and resources within the organization for increased efficiency and effectiveness.

Funding support was made possible through the Grave Family Fund, Maude Smith Fund, and unrestricted funds at The Community Foundation. For more information about CVLC, visit its® profile.

Did You Know?

The legal assistance model that CVLC and other clinics assisting veterans with legal issues, is based on the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence, the idea that the legal process itself can have an impact - positive or negative - on the emotional well-being of an individual.

Source: University of Arizona