Since 2013, the Legal Clinic has partnered with Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF) to meet the legal needs of homeless veterans in Indiana. Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, HVAF has come a long way from their first housing project when they established a residence for five homeless veterans. In 2017 alone, they served more than 1300. Bryan Dysert, Director of Programs and Services at HVAF, says, “[We have the] capacity to house 158 veterans on any given night. And while they’re in that program, they’re receiving case management services, employment services, legal services—really anything that they need to get back to self-sufficiency.”Read More
Although Cameron served faithfully in the U.S. Army for many years and was honorably discharged in the late 1980s, he had encountered many difficulties since that time. As a result, he became addicted to drugs. This addiction affected every aspect of his life, snowballing until he was homeless, without a job, and carrying a lifetime suspension on his driving privileges.Read More
This September was a flurry of preparations for our Justice for All gala on Thursday, Oct. 6th featuring guest speaker Bob Goff, best-selling author of Love Does. To everyone already planning on attending, we can't wait to see you! And if you haven't purchased your ticket yet, there's still a little bit of time left! We also released Episode 3, Part 2 of our podcast Courting Justice this month, in which we learn more about the community found by refugees who are resettled in Indianapolis. And we met Stephen, a veteran who suffered from PTSD and came to the Clinic seeking assistance with his mortgage.Read More
After completing the initial steps of the Clinic’s intake process, Stephen was assigned to Housing Counselor Helene Rodriguez, who was determined to help him. “It just made me realize that sometimes it’s not [a client’s] fault that they fall behind on their mortgage,” she says. “It’s their medical condition, or traumatic events.”Read More
Last year, veteran John Cooper* chose to visit our Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) when he realized he needed help sorting out his tax debt with the IRS. After sustaining an injury to his leg years earlier, John was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. Since that time, thanks in part to his disability, John struggled to find steady work.Read More
Debra says, “Our motto, so to speak, is we serve our veterans, they served us. But on that same note, our veterans feel so grateful for what they receive here … that they then want to give back to the community and they are very active in doing so.”Read More
I am pleased to introduce to you, Megan Lewis, outstanding volunteer at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. Megan has a long history with the Clinic starting out as a VISTA Summer Intern in 2010 working in Consumer Justice and Housing. In the fall of 2010 Megan continued in her volunteerism as a law student conducting intakes at the Blue Triangle, a local veteran domiciliary which provides housing for homeless veterans. Once licensed to practice law Megan, began taking pro bono case referrals from the Clinic. She currently serves as a program volunteer attorney with the Clinic’s partnership with the Hoosier Veteran Assistance Foundation (HVAF) of Indiana which seeks to meet the civil legal needs of homeless veterans.
Megan is from Yorktown Indiana and she joined the Indiana Army National Guard a few weeks before she graduated from high school. Over the next few years Megan attended college at Indiana University in Bloomington and had various commitments to the Guard while in school. In 2005 Megan’s unit deployed to Iraq where she served for twelve months. When Megan returned in 2006, she completed her undergraduate degree and in 2009 she attended law school at Indiana University School of Law.
When asked what motivates her to volunteer at the Clinic she responded, “I have a passion for pro bono work and for supporting organizations that provide legal services to those who cannot afford it. My primary goal is to serve veterans. When I returned from Iraq, I had a very hard time reintegrating into civilian life and college…. The Clinic allows me to use the skills I developed as an attorney to help other veterans and those in the Indianapolis area that need assistance. My hope is that those I assist will use their talents to help others as well.”
Megan met her husband Evan in her Guard unit and they currently live in Fishers with their three cats, Bob, Mo and Sonny (see hilarious picture). The two just recently celebrated their tenth anniversary. Way to go you two!
Megan has been a major asset to the Clinic as a law student and as a family law attorney assisting homeless veterans. Having felt the direct effects of war as a soldier, Megan knows too well the suffering of those who have fought for our country and have returned changed, wounded, scarred. It is her goal in working as a volunteer for the Clinic to help alleviate the legal struggles veterans face upon returning.
Megan states, “It’s an unfortunate fact that some may never have the financial resources to obtain help for their legal issues. The Clinic helps those people.” This is why Megan continues to volunteer and give of her time to the Clinic and its mission. When asked what Social Justice means to her she states, “Access to free justice.”
Megan, thank you for your heart of courage, service and compassion. This community needs more people who share your passion for those in need and we thank you for sharing your gifts with the Clinic.