(Austin, TX) – Free legal assistance will soon be available to low-income Travis County residents at the Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center.
Central Health and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (TRLA) have established a partnership to provide access to free legal services in certain civil matters.
“There’s a spiral – people faced with chronic medical issues then face legal issues, and they don’t have the money to pay for the help they need,” said Robert Doggett, executive director of TRLA. “A child suffering from asthma, for example, may be exposed to moldy conditions in their home that a landlord refuses to address or fix. With little or no money, the parent or caregiver can’t afford an attorney. This is where Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid steps in.”
These partnerships allow for medical care providers to identify these relationships and connect patients with lawyers who can help. Every year, TRLA provides free civil legal services to about 23,000 low-income Texans, including families, veterans, disaster victims, farmworkers, the elderly, and survivors of sexual assault.
“So many of the factors that affect a person’s health happen outside the doctor’s office,” said Mike Geeslin, president and CEO of Central Health. “We want to give everyone a shot at better health, and sometimes that requires addressing a person’s or family’s social welfare. And if legal action is required, that requires money, so this partnership makes perfect sense.”
“In 2016, we partnered with TRLA to give more than 200 individuals access to legal assistance,” said Elizabeth Marrero, program director at Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center. “This program will be a great benefit. To have access to a range of legal expertise, from benefits and veterans’ services to family violence, housing, and estate planning, could be the one thing that helps individuals and families stay on their feet.”
Appointments with TRLA are available from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Clients of the Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center or residents of the surrounding neighborhoods can call 512-978-8525 to schedule an appointment or for more information.