Georgia Legal Services Program places emphasis on areas of law where the need among low-income Georgians is the greatest and where our representation and advocacy can have the most impact. Click on the name of the practice area to see more information about the GLSP specialists who are experts on each issue.
The mission of GLSP is to advocate for access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for Georgia’s neediest and most vulnerable residents. Our advocacy for Georgians with low-incomes assists clients with the priority legal needs described in our specific “practice areas,” working to reach the poorest of the poor, the homeless, the elderly, children, persons with disabilities, and persons with limited English proficiency.
Some GLSP offices offer legal services to non-profit community groups working to improve the lives of low income people in rural areas and in small cities around the state. These organizations are generally grass-roots and community-based groups working in areas such as affordable housing, micro enterprise development, local job development projects. We have two specialists in these areas: Homero Leon, who is based in Atlanta, and Skipper StipeMaas, based in Athens.
Working to break the school to prison pipeline that has ruined the lives of so many young Georgians, GLSP attorneys represent students in discipline cases to help keep them in school. GLSP also helps rural school systems develop discipline policies that work to keep students engaged in their education instead of using permanent expulsion.
One of GLSP’s largest practice areas, our work with survivors of domestic violence has made the firm a leader statewide on issues such as elder abuse and family violence. Our attorneys have helped develop best practices in courts statewide on these issues, and we have helped more than 25,000 survivors escape violence over the last five years.
Representing both citizen workers and immigrants in Georgia on guest worker visas, our Farmworker Rights Division has pushed growers to provide better pay, better housing and better working conditions for the thousands of farmworkers in Georgia.
Access to health care is one of the most pressing needs of low-income Georgians. Our attorneys work with clients on individual cases, but also with the state agencies involved in providing health care coverage to help remove obstacles for the neediest Georgians.
A stable homeplace is the first step out of poverty for many families. GLSP represents clients who live in or seek to live in public or subsidized housing . Our mission here is prevention of homelessness. Numerous cases over the years challenged practices of local housing authorities involving racial segregation, incorrect rent calculations, failure to follow federal regulations concerning utility allowances, denials of applications, sufficiency of grounds for eviction, discrimination based on disability, intimidation and harassment, and much more. As “housing of last resort,” an apartment in a housing project is a precious thing, and the right to occupy it is a recognized property interest which cannot be denied or terminated without due process.
Food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, Medicare, and unemployment benefits comprise the safety net that keeps many low-income Georgians from becoming homeless, going hungry or failing to receive health care. The bureaucracies that administer these programs, however, are often impenetrable for the people who need them most. Our lawyers help people having problems receiving needed benefits, as well as working with state agencies to improve and simplify the process for application and retention of benefits.
Social Security benefits for elderly and disabled Georgians, as well as access to health care for these most vulnerable people are an important part of GLSP’s practice. Specialist Rachael Henderson in Brunswick stays current on all issues affecting these important benefits and advises other GLSP attorneys.