WHAT IS THE LEGAL AID SOCIETY?
The Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley was established in 1966. Its purpose is to provide legal services for persons who cannot afford private attorneys. The Society operates with a staff of 5 full-time attorneys, and provides counseling in civil (not criminal or traffic) cases. Although the program is not funded adequately to provide court representation to all who cannot afford lawyers, it does provide a full range of legal services in selected cases. Funding is provided by the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia and other sources.
WHO MAY RECEIVE ASSISTANCE?
Legal Aid helps clients residing in the Roanoke Valley area, which includes Roanoke, Salem, Lexington, Covington, Clifton Forge, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, Alleghany, Rockbridge and Bath. Legal Aid coordinates with another program, Blue Ridge Legal Services, to provide a range of civil services to all parts of this area.
To be eligible a person must fall below the Society's income guidelines, which are set at 125% of the Federal Poverty Level. For a single person in 2011, this means a projected gross income of $13,613 or less per year; for a household of two people, a combined gross household income of $18,388 or less per year. An additional $4,775 is added to the standard for each other person living in the household.
Of course, each case is examined on an individual basis and other things may be considered (irregular income, garnishment, etc.). Persons ineligible for representation will be referred to the Lawyer Referral Service if appropriate.
The Legal Aid Society can also make special arrangements to serve homebound, hospitalized, handicapped or institutionalized applicants who are financially eligible.
WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS DOES LEGAL AID HANDLE?
The Society is prepared to advise you about legal problems that are not punishable by a jail sentence. These include:
CONSUMER AND EMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS - Hospital bills, utility problems, credit, garnishment, bankruptcy and job discrimination.
ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS - Welfare, medicaid, food stamp, unemployment insurance and education problems.
HOUSING PROBLEMS - Landlord abuses, bad housing conditions, public housing, security deposits, evictions, and problems with mobile home parks.
FAMILY PROBLEMS - Family violence, custody, divorce, and nonsupport.
OTHER PROBLEMS - Civil law provides remedies for many other conflicts with businesses, government agencies, and individuals.
HOW DO I CONTACT LEGAL AID ABOUT A PROBLEM?
The Legal Aid Society's office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Legal Aid attorneys also see clients at an outreach office in Bedford. Application must be made to Blue Ridge Legal Services by telephone Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 11:30 am at (540) 344-2080.