Op-Ed Martha Bergmark, Ellen Lawton
July 8, 2016
Full text of op-ed
Tags: Medical-Legal Partnerships, Veterans
Organizations mentioned/involved: Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, Pine Tree Legal Assistance (PTLA) (Maine), National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (NCMLP)
With nearly 50,000 veterans sleeping on the streets each night, it’s clear we are failing to serve those who have served our country. But the solution isn’t as obvious as it might seem. Veterans don’t need simply more doctors and shelter beds; new research shows that veterans need lawyers to fight on their behalf as well.
Emerging partnerships between civil legal-aid and community health and housing organizations can permanently transform veterans’ lives but require investment to meet the need. Most partnerships struggle to leverage existing, scarce legal-aid resources, alongside private philanthropy. Medical-legal partnerships and other civil legal-aid interventions for veterans show the promise of a holistic approach to veterans care. It’s time to make the investments we must to ensure we don’t leave any veterans behind.