IOLTA Makes a Difference
Each year, because of IOLTA hundreds of thousands of people across the country get the legal help they need. These are examples of those people and the help they received.
Freedom from Abuse
Indra*, a young mother from India with two U.S.-born children, suffered abuse and extreme cruelty at the hands of her lawful permanent resident husband. Indra had no lawful status, and in addition to suffering abuse, she also feared the immigration authorities would detain her, separate her from her children and send her away from the U.S. Her husband told her repeatedly that he could contact the authorities anytime to have her deported. When her living conditions became unbearable, Indra and her children fled their home and went to live with relatives, who took her to legal aid for help. Legal aid accepted her case and filed an I-360 Petition for Abused Spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident. The United States Citizenship and Immigrant Services issued an approval on her case. Indra now has deferred status and has obtained an Employment Authorization document. This has enabled her to obtain a valid Social Security number, and now she can lawfully work to support herself and her two small children. She no longer suffers abuse and extreme cruelty. Her children no longer live in fear of their abusive father. Indra is now realizing her hopes and dreams of a better life and future for her children.
Assisting Low-income Texans with Hearing Impairments
IOLTA funding from the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation allows Advocacy, Inc. to provide much-needed legal assistance to Texas residents with hearing impairments. People who are deaf or hard of hearing often have difficulty accessing community services, finding employment and exercising their civil rights. The Deaf Advocacy Project of Advocacy, Inc. is committed to safeguarding the rights of all Texans whom disability laws are intended to serve. The Deaf Mental Health Advocacy Project goes a step further to improve access to mental health services for Texans who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Help for a New Start
Tanya* is 14 years old and in seventh grade. Due to her mother's drug addiction, she has been in the juvenile court's dependency system for some time and was in the custody of her great aunt until the aunt died. When Tanya came to legal aid she did not have a legal guardian and was doing poorly in school. The legal attorney helped Tanya's cousin secure guardianship, and then represented Tanya at an expulsion hearing that resulted from an argument with another student. Tanya had been out of school for 10 days and faced a possible 80-day expulsion. Through legal aid's representation, she returned to school the next day. Now legal aid is working to obtain mental health services for Tanya (help that is needed because access to most social services requires a legal guardian). Legal aid is also working with Tanya's school to help arrange services that will assist her in the classroom. While Tanya has a long way to go before graduation, she is now on a path where success is possible.
*Names have been changed.