June 21, 2010
Working Towards a Sensible Justice SystemDaily Journal | By Paul L. Freese Jr.
At Public Counsel's June 16, 2010 William O. Douglas Award Dinner, Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs, L. Tammy Duckworth, exhorted the audience of over 1,000 to be mindful of President Barack Obama's challenge - that it is a "betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear and all who have worn the proud uniform of our country" for any veteran to be homeless. She smiled after being informed that, earlier that same day, Public Counsel had teamed up with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, the Los Angeles Public Defender's Office and a host of nonprofits to help more than 100 homeless veterans with the launching of the Veterans HALO (Homeless Alternatives to Living On the streets) at New Directions, a transitional living program for veterans on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration.
"On a day when the courts are closed due to furloughs," said City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, whose office organized this collaborative project, "we wanted to step up and show our support for our veterans - the men and women who have put their lives on the line to preserve our liberties. And we do that by bringing our legal services to them here at the V.A. - not waiting for them to come to us."
"Public Counsel has always supported efforts to make legal services more accessible to those in need by bringing our services to them," said Public Counsel President and CEO, Hernan Vera. "This new program brings lawyers and other critically needed resources to places like New Directions, where veterans are receiving counseling, case management, therapy and assistance returning to the workforce. "