Focusing on bringing access to justice for all by overcoming language barriers, the latest GLSP newsletter details our advocacy for free interpreters to be made available in all legal proceedings. Click here to read more: GLSP Spring Newsletter
In 2012 a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and LGBTQ-friendly lawyers and staff at Georgia Legal Services Program formed a task force to explore ways of reaching out to LGBTQ people in the rural parts of the state served by GLSP. The LGBTQ Client Services and Outreach Committee works to develop outreach methods to ensure that LGBTQ applicants can access legal services and feel secure in reaching out to GLSP for quality legal assistance and representation. We also work to develop and use legal theories ensuring equal justice for LGBTQ clients.
GLSP is a large statewide non-profit law firm that serves low-income marginalized people in rural and small town Georgia. Our mission is to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for low-income Georgians. We are funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation and over 70 other sources to handle civil legal matters. We know that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are an underserved minority throughout Georgia. As studies indicate, rural LGBTQ Georgians are likely to be poor and are a natural fit for our services.
Since its inception, the Committee has implemented a three-pronged approach to reach the LGBTQ community in Georgia. First, we work to make sure our program is welcoming to LGBTQ clients and that our staff provides quality legal assistance that is culturally sensitive and attuned to LGBTQ issues.. We do this through comprehensive in-house training and the implementation of policies that prohibit discrimination and encourage inclusiveness. Second, we work to identify the population of potential LGBTQ clients in Georgia outside the five-county metro Atlanta area. Our Committee is conducting surveys of our staff across the state to learn about local LGBTQ resources and potential partner agencies. Additionally, the Committee is reaching out to state-level LGBTQ organizations to obtain their feedback and identify potential areas of collaboration. Third, we make it known in the gay communities of Georgia that we are available to help LGBTQ people with their civil legal issues. GLSP is adding LGBTQ-friendly cues to its physical locations, websites, brochures and other media. Our advocates will be creating additional programming such as legal clinics and community legal education for LGBTQ clients across the state, including targeted outreach to LGBTQ elders.
Access to justice is our mission. Your trust is our goal.
To speak with a GLSP lawyer about LGBTQ client programming and services in your area, call 404-206-5175; 800-498-9469; or TDD 800-225-0056.
GLSP’s Benefits Hotline was featured in a newsletter put out by Hotline funder, the National Council on Aging. Robust follow up in cases where elderly and people with disabilities had trouble getting and keeping federal benefits helped clients reach financial stability. Read the full article here.
By ETHAN BRONNER
The New York Times
Published: May 6, 2013
VIDALIA, Ga. — For years, labor unions and immigrant rights activists have accused large-scale farmers, like those harvesting sweet Vidalia onions here this month, of exploiting Mexican guest workers. Working for hours on end under a punishing sun, the pickers are said to be crowded into squalid camps, driven without a break and even cheated of wages.
But as Congress weighs immigration legislation expected to expand the guest worker program, another group is increasingly crying foul — Americans, mostly black, who live near the farms and say they want the field work but cannot get it because it is going to Mexicans. Read more…
By DAN CHAPMAN
FORT GAINES, Ga. — Ryan Wheeler, graduating from law school in Atlanta this month, needs a job.
Clay County, a rural southwest Georgia community without a full-time, private-practice attorney, needs all the legal help it can get.
A match made in heaven?
Despite the job-search difficulty facing the newly minted graduates of Georgia State, Emory, the University of Georgia, Mercer and other law schools, few will end up practicing in rural Georgia, where legal representation is sorely lacking.
Farmworker Division Lead Attorney Dawson Morton wrote an article for Huffington Post about the struggles of U.S. citizen and immigrant farmworkers. “Court filings tell a story of Americans displaced from jobs flooded with foreign workers and of foreign workers who lose their job if they demand fair pay or better working conditions,” he says.
Prepared by:Leo Cuello
Health care spending in the Medicaid program has the lowest level of spending inflation among insurers in the United States.This is true because both state and federal budgeters have squeezed the Medicaid program for savings. For example, states have used Medicaid rate-setting authority to tightly limit the payments made to providers and keep the program’s costs low. States typically pay providers the bare minimum they are willing to accept – sometimes leading to access problems for enrollees. In short, Medicaid is the leanest health care coverage model in the nation. Read more…
Georgia Legal Services Program has developed a special set of resources to help lawyers request interpreters in civil proceedings in Georgia. The Georgia Supreme Court Committee promulgated rules on the use of interpreters for the hearing impaired and for people who have limited English proficiency. The materials offered by GLSP include a motion for an interpreter, a brief in support of the motion, brief attachments and an order for an interpreter at no cost to the client.
GLSP attorney Jana J. Edmondson authored a February 2013 Georgia Bar Journal article entitled, Working with an Interpreter: Providing Effective Communication and Ensuring Limited English Proficient Clients Have Meaningful Access to Justice. The article reviews the legal authority for requiring interpreters in the legal context, the ethical obligation to communicate effectively with a client who speaks limited English and tips for working with interpreters. Read the Georgia Bar Journal article on interpreters.
Slate.com recently covered how technology is being used to help low-income households find access to justice. Georgia Legal Services Program has been a leader in implementing technology tools to increase productivity and efficiency and to help connect with clients who have critical legal needs. Check out the Slate.com article here to read about Georgia Legal Services Program: “Don’t Forget Your Court Date” – How text messages and other technology can give legal support to the poor.
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute posts new study showing how many Georgians would be helped by expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Read more…