Press Releases

November 10, 2011

Public Counsel Launches Major Initiative to Help Hollywood's Homeless Veterans

Council President Eric Garcetti, Aileen Getty, and Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California Join Forces to Provide ‘Missing Piece’ for Veterans

LOS ANGELES – Public Counsel today announced a major initiative to assist homeless veterans with legal issues preventing them from finding a home or a job.

Through the three-year project, Public Counsel attorneys will partner with service providers in the Hollywood area to provide direct legal representation to veterans. They will also train case workers to recognize veterans’ legal issues before they become a barrier to finding a home. The program is funded through generous support from Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, Aileen Getty, and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California.

Last year the Hollywood 4WRD coalition surveyed homeless residents in the area and found nearly 20% were veterans.

"Solving veterans’ legal issues is often the missing piece for a veteran who's struggling with homelessness," said Rick Little, director of Public Counsel's Center for Veterans Advancement, which will provide the direct representation to veterans in the Hollywood area. "We don't accept excuses when it comes to supporting veterans. When legal issues are standing in the way, we need to do whatever it takes to remove them."

Public Counsel’s Center for Veterans Advancement assists veterans with a full range of legal needs, including obtaining missing identification, securing sustainable income, addressing outstanding traffic tickets and warrants, and handling other issues that can pile up for veterans. Many veterans’ legal issues are connected to substance abuse, mental illness, or the aftershocks of combat trauma.

"We know that there are dozens of homeless veterans on Hollywood’s streets and those who risked their lives to defend our country deserve better. This project will help get them the shelter, care and services they need," said Council President Garcetti, who is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve component.

"Public Counsel’s wisdom, experience and compassion bring new hope and real results to homeless vets. I’m excited to join Council President Eric Garcetti and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California in support of Public Counsel’s commitment to serve these often forgotten members of our community," said Aileen Getty, founder of Gettlove, a nonprofit organization in Hollywood and part of the Hollywood 4WRD coalition.

"Our country has made a commitment to helping our veterans escape poverty and homelessness, find good jobs and repair their lives. Public Counsel’s work will help make the difference here in Los Angeles and blaze a path for others," said Matthew Zarcufsky of the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California, which supports efforts that address the unmet human and social needs of individuals, families, and communities that have the least access to resources.