Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic Participates in 28th Annual Stand Down Event
July 20, 2015
On Friday, July 17 and over the weekend students from Thomas Jefferson’s Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic (VLAC) participated in San Diego’s 28th annual Stand Down. Each year the event takes place on the athletic fields at San Diego High School to support homeless veterans. “Stand Down was an impressive collection of community services, working together to give these veterans a chance to break the cycle of chronic homelessness,” said third-year student Rebecca Marsand. “I was so impressed with the Superior Court establishing a remote courtroom and adjudicating the veterans’ cases on site. I was so proud to be able to help my clients get their cases finally settled.”
The VLAC has been providing free legal assistance to Stand Down participants since the Clinic opened its doors in 2006. For the past six years, the focus of the VLAC’s efforts at Stand Down has been on representing veterans who have child support cases before the San Diego Superior Court’s Family Support Division, which conducts a special motion calendar out on the handball courts at San Diego High. This year, the VLAC represented 20 veterans who had 22 child support motions on calendar to be heard by the Court. With the cooperation of the San Diego Department of Child Support Services, VLAC students were able to obtain driver’s license releases for their clients, reduce child support payments to manageable levels, and resolve tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of past due child support arrears in favor of the veterans. Addressing such child support issues removes a major impediment to homeless veterans’ efforts to reintegrate back into productive society.
“Being a part of stand down was a very rewarding experience, to be able to help veterans who are in need of legal assistance, but cannot afford representation,” said Veterans Clinic student Kaleena Leben. “They have dedicated their lives for our country and to see the San Diego community come together to provide food, shelter and services to those veterans was very heart-warming.”
Stand Down is a three-day resource fair for homeless veterans. The participants take their meals at Stand Down and sleep in military-style tents over the course of the event. Other participating service providers include the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, doctors, dentists, hair-stylists, and cosmetologists. The all come together to provide much needed services to struggling veterans. This year, more than 700 homeless veterans were expected to have participated.