Guest opinion: Legal Services aids veterans, more needy Montanans

Billings Gazette op-ed co-authored by Alison Paul, executive director of Montana Legal Services Association, and LSC president James Sandman.

Op-Ed (Montana, RURAL)

James J. Sandman, Alison Paul
Billings Gazette
December 3, 2014
Link to op-ed

Tags: Benefits of Legal Aid: Economic, Civil Rights, Funding: Federal, Legal Needs, Pro Bono, Pro Se/Self-Help, Technology, Veterans

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


Last year on the day after Thanksgiving, Gerald Stevens, a disabled veteran and senior living in Billings, received a letter stating that his rent had increased.

Stevens had lived in a subsidized two-bedroom apartment for over a decade, but now the subsidizing agency decided he should live in a one-bedroom unit or pay more. Living on a fixed social security income and needing the second bedroom for equipment to help him recover from surgery, Stevens thought the increase was unfair. He contacted Montana Legal Services Association, a statewide nonprofit law firm that works primarily with low-income people, and MLSA attorney Beth Hayes took the case.

Hayes helped him file for a reasonable accommodation to allow him to continue living in his apartment without a rent increase. Not only was Stevens granted the reasonable accommodation, but his rent was decreased to even less than before, providing him with further financial stability.