Clinic offers variety of services for Vets

Story by Rachel Ng

Unforeseen circumstances can happen to all of us, even Veterans. A free mental health legal clinic held by Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS), will occur every Wednesday from 10 AM, to 2 PM. in the Veterans center in the E Building At LAC. Students can show up to attend this clinic Headed by Vanessa Lim.

This program can assist students who are low income veterans with Disabilities. NO students were available for interviews. The two that participated had left. This clinic focuses on equal justice work and according to Lim, also exists “To provide free legal services for veterans.” They can assist disabled veterans with a variety of concerns from a traffic or parking ticket, finding Employment, or assistance in applying for benefits such as SSI, SSDI, to evictions, housing acomodations, and expunging criminal convictions. Lim claims that her goal is, “to have a place where I can have a continuous presence in the community, and that’s been a little bit of a challenge for me working so far, because of our location in a downtown urban area, where there is no parking.” This is an attempt by her to serve more veterans. Lim claims that,  “I’m doing a lot of outreach. We are based in Korea Town in Los Angeles, which is not an area that’s not really accessible to veterans and so I know that there’s a big community out in Long Beach, and I am trying to be able to do some work on the ground,some fieldwork, to meet these people where they are.” She understands the trouble of Veterans that come to her and utilizes her services. Lim states, “for people who are in transition, when it rains, it pours. So, you don’t see just one issue you see all the stuff happening at once.”

MHAS, the organization Lim works for, according to Lim, “has overarching goals of access to justice and further economic justice and provide advocacy for people with disabilities.” MHAS has had experiences with Parking and Traffic tickets. According to lim, it is important because “in California a lot of people have unpaid traffic or parking tickets and as a result are not able to drive. So They’ll have a hold on either their licence or their registration, which has consequences for employment or school and other opportunities.” They have experiences also with something as serious as “people who are facing eviction or have issues with reasonable accommodations like service animals,” according to Lim. They also provide trainings to educate the public on what they are entitled to in terms of housing. According to Lim, “We have a housing grant from the US Department Of Housing And Urban Development to educate the public on fair housing rights. So, what to do when you get a eviction notice. What rights you have?What fair housing laws are?What they protect and what they don’t protect.”

For more information about the the the Free Mental Health Legal clinics held by MHAS contact Vanessa Lim at (213) 3892077.