MidPenn’s Shelter Project brings legal help to transitioning families

Helping HandsNovember 28, 2012 

MidPenn Legal Services is the “emergency room of the legal profession” for low-income families in 18 central Pennsylvania counties including Centre. We provide free civil legal help to our communities’ most vulnerable populations which includes children, elderly, disabled, homeless, survivors of domestic violence and the poor.

MidPenn attorneys and volunteer attorneys from the Centre County Bar Association provide vital legal counsel and representation in a variety of legal issues including: domestic violence, housing, predatory lending, public benefits, mortgage foreclosure and consumer and family law.

Last year we handled 620 cases in the county. Our funding comes from a variety of sources, including the Centre County United Way. Local support from the United Way helps to fund MidPenn’s Shelter Project.

The Shelter Project is a collaboration between MidPenn, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center and Housing Transitions. Providing a holistic approach to the issues facing these residents helps them to safely transition out of shelter and back into the community.

MidPenn’s part of this collaboration is to make an attorney available at each shelter. Families and individuals in shelter usually demonstrate clearly identifiable legal needs, but their situation may make accessing assistance problematic.

Whether out of fear of being seen and followed by an abuser, lack of transportation or an inflexible job schedule, having an attorney that can travel to the shelter to meet with the residents allows MidPenn to reach a population of Centre County who might otherwise go without the critical legal resources.

If you’re in need civil legal help, call MidPenn Legal Services at 800-326-9177 to find out if you are eligible for our services. Our Telephone Advice Project operates from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Linda A. Lovett is the grants manager for MidPenn Legal Services. She has more than 25 years of experience working in legal services.

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