Legal Aid of the Bluegrass is a non-profit law firm providing free civil legal assistance to poor and vulnerable people in its service area. The area covers 33 northeastern and central Kentucky counties. Our four offices are located in Ashland, Covington, Lexington, and Morehead. No client has more than an hour’s drive to an office. We provide legal services in the areas of government benefits, consumer, housing, and elder and family law. We focus on helping people gain safety, employment, basic needs, income, and self-sufficiency. For example, when we stop domestic violence, a survivor can more easily hold a job. Where we keep families in their homes by stopping a foreclosure or eviction, they become stable enough to get or keep a job. Where we help an elderly person get prescription drugs, they have better health.
Our clients struggle. They are poor, elderly, and vulnerable, such as nursing home residents or domestic violence victims. They often do not have their basic needs met, and need the services of an attorney who is a tool to this end. This year, we found that the veteran population in our service area was vulnerable and needed legal help. We are adding a program to serve veterans as a result.
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass was first incorporated in 1967 and has provided legal services to its communities since then. We are governed by a 24 member board of directors made up of lawyers, client representatives, and a development professional from our local communities. Our organization and staff are highly regarded in the communities as providing quality services and leadership. In 2005, the ABA presented us with their Hodson Award given annually to a public interest law firm for excellence. We were the only program in the nation to receive this award that year. In 2010, our Executive Director received the Salmon P. Chase College of Law “Exceptional Service Award.” The recipient of this award is an alumnus who exhibits the ideals of Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law through exceptional service to the community.
Our management team has a combined 70 years of experience, including our Executive Director with over 7 years, our Advocacy Director with over 30 years, and our Business Director with over 30 years. We employ a CPA and 10 years' experience. We encourage our staff to get training and take leadership roles in our local communities.
Accomplishments from past year:
1.) Increase in the number of people provided brief counsel and advice (5,285 cases serving 7,133 adults and 2,753 children). LABG has invested resources to ensure that we have a high quality centralized intake unit to serve the community in the most efficient & effective ways possible. We added one full time & two part time attorneys, who have significant legal experience. This has reduced the number of potential clients waiting for a call back & allows for a more thorough intake experience.
2.) Providing peace and protection for elderly Kentuckians through expanded outreach and wills clinics in all 33 counties within our service region and an additional 7 in which we provide limited services. Developed presence and extended referral opportunities in rural counties by providing representation in all 40 counties.
3.) LABG added a Communications Manager position to help advance our mission of providing legal services to low-income populations. We developed a robust online presence which allows us to communicate with community partners, offer relevant news & provide info on our areas of practice. We released an online newsletter & better publicize news & events through improved media relations. LABG is focused on sharing information to create a path for clients, staff, other stakeholders & the community at large to connect with us so we can work to ensure fairness, protect families & change lives.
Goals for current year:
1.) Launch of our new website in late spring of 2016. LABG in collaboration with the Center for Applied Informatics (CAI) at NKU is working to establish a new website that enhances the ability for clients to connect with us to receive the assistance they need to provide them access to justice.
2.) Creation of organizational strategic plan which provides a shared sense of mission and vision for the organization and develops measurable goals.
3.) Completion of a Community Legal Needs Assessment allowing the identification of pressing legal problems of the low-income population in our service regions resulting in the adjustment of objectives and strategies to best addresses the most critical civil legal needs.
1.) Expansion and Enhancement of Pro Bono presence in 33 county service area. LABG is developing a pro bono coordinator position that will focus on recruitment and retention of pro bono attorneys in the bluegrass increasing our ability to serve more low-income Kentuckians.
2.) LABG must establish a reliable private donor base. While we maintain relationships and identify new opportunities for grant and foundation funding well, we have not fostered a culture of individual giving among the legal community.
3.) Continue significant improvements on technological infrastructure. $120,000 for new switches and firewall.
4.) Tools to complete Community Legal Needs Assessment. Legal Aid of the Bluegrass continues to engage in a rigorous process to stay informed of the changing dynamics of the legal needs of low-income individuals & the best ways to deliver services to meet these needs. Our 2016 comprehensive assessment will require us to poll and survey clients and community members, facilitate focus groups and contract a social return on investment study to demonstrate the impact civil legal services have on local economy. $10,000
5.) New Kentucky laws have increased protection for victims of dating violence and stalking and the ability to expunge criminal records for some non-violent Class D felonies. LABG must increase its capacity to serve those impacted by the expanded laws, increasing the access of justice for many Kentuckians.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
During this political season with so much talk from candidates about the U.S. Constitution I have found myself reading and rereading this revered document. My attention turns to the preamble and I am pleasantly reminded that our founding fathers before anything else formed our country in order to establish justice. Right there in the opening lines of one of the greatest documents ever written I find validation for the work that we do at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass.
For almost 50 years, LABG has been fighting to ensure fairness and accessibility to our justice system, especially for the most vulnerable members of our communities. By protecting families through advocacy aimed at securing housing, income, family and interpersonal safety as well as many other needs, LABG empowers people to achieve economic and family stability in order to rise out of the confines of poverty.
2015 was no different. Last year, through the services of our advocates and staff LABG provided legal assistance to 10,509 adults and 5,909 children. This includes almost 1000 veterans and members of their households and nearly 1500 individuals who have been the victims of violence. The work of our advocates results in money being returned to our clients’ pockets and being returned to our communities.
While these results are laudable, the need in our community continues to be great. The rate of persons living in poverty in our community continues to increase and the rate of children living in poverty is truly alarming. There is much work that remains to be done. LABG will continue fulfilling our role of helping to establish justice for all in our Commonwealth.
Originally from Monticello,
Kentucky, Joshua Crabtree has called Northern Kentucky home since beginning law
school in 2000. Joshua was admitted to
the bar in 2003 and has spent his legal career at the Children’s Law Center
since 2004, moving from staff attorney to managing attorney. Along with
management responsibilities, Joshua regularly represents clients in child
custody, child maltreatment, education and child victim cases. Joshua is
the co-editor of The Federal Education Rights of Children: A Practitioner’s
Guide, as well as a published author of several works regarding the ethics
of representing children, the education rights of children and issues regarding
child custody. He regularly presents on topics involving the legal rights
of children at major conferences and conventions around the country as well as
small group presentations to schools and local civic organizations.
Joshua is also a family mediator and regularly teaches at local universities
and law schools on topics involving the legal rights of children.
Joshua is a cum laude graduate of Transylvania University and an honors
graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He is also
a 2009 graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky. Joshua is a member of
several bar and civic organizations including the KBA Committee on Child
Protection and Domestic Violence, a Director of the Northern Kentucky Bar
Association and serves as Vice-Chair of Family Promise(formerly IHN), among
others. Joshua is actively involved at Florence Christian Church where he
serves as an Elder as well Vice-Chair of the board.
Families/individuals will be aware of their rights to public benefits and will receive enrollment information and legal assistance, when needed.
Families/Individuals access eligible public benefits/work supports (EITC, CTC, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, KCHIP, child care subsidies, SSI, SSA Disability, etc.) when a benefit has been wrongfully denied.
Under or unemployed applicants for service are aware of legal barriers to getting or retaining employment paying a living wage.
Individuals have employment barriers removed/issues resolved through the legal system.
A 26 year old man had been charged more than five years ago with possession of marijuana and of drug paraphernalia. The charges were dismissed so he was never found guilty. Nonetheless, the charges remained on his record. He felt that he had lost job opportunities when prospective employers ran a background check. Our attorney was able to get the expungement done quickly just in time for his next job interview.
Through legal intervention familes or individuals have their foreclosures or evictions stopped and remain in their homes.
Program success is monitored by collecting demographic, income and outcome information by client that is stored in an extensive database and monitoring the results annually through analyzing the results compared to targeted projections.
A couple with a set of young twins was facing foreclosure. They had submitted two loan packets to the lender seeking a loan modification. Their file ended up in the collections department. The loan company had not helped the couple attempt to work out a solution even though the company should have. After review, at attorney determined that the loan was through FHA, and that there were loss mitigation possibilities. With Legal Aid’s assistance, the couple resubmitted a plan and stayed in touch with the lender on a weekly basis. They are currently in a Trial Plan which reduced their payment by $224.00. They are happy with the reduction in the payment and are confident they can sustain their monthly expenses and that the trial modification will become permanent.
Jim suffered from a rare late stage cancer and contacted us when his primary care doctor would not see him because of a Medicare bill dispute arising from mistaken identity. Medicare had refused to pay his medical bills saying he had been in a car accident and the car insurance was responsible for his bills. Jim had not had an accident but his adult son had. Our attorney worked with the Medicare Coordination of Benefits Coordinator and the Secondary Payor contractor to get the issue resolved so that Medicare would authorize payment to his doctor. Although Jim was terminally ill, he had been unable to see his doctor for more than 6 months because he could not work through the complex rules and red tape. We gave him the opportunity to access the health care benefits to which he was entitled at the most difficult time in his life and ease his mind that he would not leave his wife with medical bills she could not pay.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507