Elder Law and Disability Rights Center (ELDR Center) $12,500 grant will help fund the hiring another full-time attorney who would contribute to on-going requests, assist with the heavy caseload and further educate. Additionally, this attorney would oversee the Wound Walk OC Project (a non-profit) which provides basic wound care and hygiene services to unsheltered homeless people.  

Description of Project/Program that seeking Impact Giving funds

ELDR Center fills the justice gap through free and low-cost services to protect the civil, constitutional, and human rights of marginalized people and communities.  ELDR assists low-income seniors, people with disabilities and their families to live with dignity and independence.

Between 2007 – 2019, Orange County’s homeless population increased 88%. Currently there are over 10,000 homeless.  ELDR currently serves over 1,000 people and will double their impact by expanding services to support legal needs and advocate on behalf of those experiencing homelessness.

Description of how the Impact Giving grant funds will be used:

ELDR is expanding their professional legal services by hiring another full-time attorney who would contribute to on-going requests, assist with the heavy caseload and further educate.

Additionally, this attorney would oversee the Wound Walk OC Project (a non-profit) which provides basic wound care and hygiene services to unsheltered homeless people.  

High Impact

With the IG grant ELDR Center will increase services to clients that leverage maximum transformative impact for the whole community. ELDR represents individual homeless people who have a variety of legal needs that are common to many homeless people.  When needs are brought to the attention of county officials it creates a powerful impact and life-changing benefit for many in the greater community.

For example, ELDR represented individuals living in the Santa Ana Riverbed forced to leave with no alternative place to go.  ELDR services provided critical, life-changing legal assistance to homeless people and forced the County to change its approach to homelessness, whereby the County created over 1,000 new shelter beds and a comprehensive Mental Health Program.

ELDR has educated local shelters of federal guidelines for health and safety. With this grant, they will continue to transform hearts, minds and lives by holding accountable local social services.

Education

Education begins with contact with individuals needing assistance, educating on rights to services throughout the county.  Many homeless people simply do not know what health, medical, food and shelter services are available to them or how to access them.

ELDR Center educates and holds accountable the social services communities and non-profit organizations in OC that serve the homeless through on-going communication, speaker events and relationships with elected officials.

The ELDR Center is part of the Orange County Legal Consortium (OCLC), an incubator program for new attorneys that provides mentoring and training in exchange for 200 hours of legal assistance.  ELDR Center participates with OCLC by teaching a 10-week summer intern law program for on-the-job experiential real life field training.

Sustainability

ELDR is funded through private grants, private donors and legal fees when a case is won in courts.  Many homeless people still are not being properly represented and many still need assistance.  With funding, ELDR can add additional staff and serve more people through leveraging new law and increasing the reach and scope of whom they might serve.

Community Building

ELDR is a critical component of a community-wide effort as the pandemic reveals clearly that housing and healthcare go hand-in-hand.  Without housing, people cannot follow medical advice by sheltering in place and social distancing.  ELDR collaborates with legal non-profits, law schools, firms and public defenders to provide legal assistance and education to the homeless.  ELDR participates in the Domestic Violence Task Force, Veterans and Military Families Collaborative, and the Elder Abuse Forensic Task Force.  ELDR collaborates with service providers, government officials, courts, law enforcement, and community groups.

Innovative

ELDR Center helps the homeless population in a way that no one in Orange County does.  This work is unique and innovative because ELDR works to create solutions to OC’s current homeless crisis. While ELDR represents individuals, they also leverage individual cases into larger actions that have positively impacted multitudes of people.

Measurable

ELDR measures number of 1) people directly served through legal representation, individuals and organizations receiving education and organizations receiving counsel; 2) public recognition awards; 3) systemic issues that ELDR is able to address.

Organization’s Mission Statement:
The Elder Law and Disability Rights Center (ELDR Center) believes that low-income seniors and people with disabilities are the fastest growing vulnerable populations falling into a gap in our justice system.  We feel an obligation to ensure they can live with dignity and independently make end-of-life plans despite their income.

Our goal is to increase access to justice by providing an alternative to those who are unable to afford private attorneys but who are also unable to get the help they need through the traditional non-profit legal services.  The ELDR Center offers free and low-cost legal services to seniors, people with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness.

Link to the website:    https://eldrcenter.org/