Help people protect their families
"I was in a very dark place," Yan recalled when she first visited Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal).
Yan's abusive ex had not only attacked her, but also injured her one-year-old child and older mother. Yan had issued an injunction, but was unable to afford a lawyer and was not represented in court. Yan lived in fear of the continued safety of her family and felt that she could not turn anywhere. China's strict family planning laws, which impose heavy fines on single mothers in addition to social stigma, made it impossible to return to their home country.
With the help of Mandarin interpreters, Yan was quickly put in touch with a lawyer with experience in family law and domestic violence. Her lawyer not only provided legal help in securing an injunction against domestic violence and primary custody of her child, but also emotional support to help her overcome her isolation and fear.
“Today I can go to school, get child benefit and live independently. Because I received legal and intellectual support from Bay Area Legal Aid, they really changed my life … I know that I can now live a safe life in the United States. “- Yan, BayLegal customer
Bay Area Legal Aid provides free legal aid to over 60,000 people annually
If someone is about to be evicted, has difficulty escaping an abusive partner, or is denied essential medical care, there is no guaranteed right to legal representation before our civil courts. BayLegal is working to close this gap in our judicial system. We use the power of the law to help the weakest in our communities so that justice is not just an abstract ideal. Every year we help over 60,000 people protect their families, their health and their livelihood.
Civil law assistance helps ensure fairness for everyone in the judicial system, regardless of how much money you have
From Napa Valley to Silicon Valley, from San Francisco to San Jose, BayLegal offers people and low-income families free advice, effective transfers, and legal representation on a range of civil issues:
Prevention of homelessness
Domestic violence and prevention of sexual assault
Access to health care
Help people to make a living
For low-wage restaurant employees, missed hours and paychecks mean they can't buy food or pay rent. After the birth of her third child, Chen was released because she could not breastfeed and keep up with the demanding layers of her restaurant. She soon ran out of unemployment benefits and was not eligible for CalWORKS, a benefit program that provides low-income families with cash benefits. When her husband lost his job, the family of five was in real danger of becoming homeless.
Chen turned to BayLegal for help, where she was connected to both a Mandarin interpreter and a lawyer with experience in general support and other benefit programs for low-income families. With her help, Chen applied for emergency funds so that her family could afford rent, food, medicine, and other necessities while she and her husband found work.
“When someone is in a position as bad as Chen, they need a consistent and collaborative support team to regain stability. Thanks to BayLegal's multilingual staff and interdisciplinary resources, we were able to achieve this and help their families maintain financial stability and maintain their living space. “- BayLegal lawyer Kendra Amick
Be a civil justice attorney
Day in day out, the most vulnerable residents of the Bay Area – foster children, veterans, immigrants, people with disabilities and victims of domestic violence – rely on the Bay Area's legal assistance in times of crisis. While federal funding for legal aid is in balance, our customers' struggles against the conditions of poverty persist. With your support, we can make the difference between staying in poverty and getting out. between dependence and independence.
(Learn more about the effects of legal assistance in your community)
Take part in our 3rd Annual Casino Night, which will benefit legal assistance in the Bay Area on June 29th at Amelia Village Newspaper HQ in San Francisco.
Merrie Bunt is a communications and development worker at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she has the privilege to share the successful results and stories of BayLegal's great customers on the web, on Facebook and Twitter.
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