Winter 2013

In This Issue
Recent client stories
Using technology to benefit our clients
Future Events
LAA in the News
paper airplane


Social Service Department moves slowly into digital age


HUSKY parent says Malloy's health care changes will be painful 


It's official: Feds deny Medicaid waiver


LAA advocate participates in homelessness Point in Time Count


Join us on Thursday May 9, 2013 for our annual Equal Access to Justice Reception honoring Dorothy Robinson and David Rosen. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.


Thank you all for your incredible generosity during the first half of our winter appeal. Your gifts will enable us to serve more clients like Ms. Williams, Mr. Soto and Jason.

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LAA Gets Results for Clients
The following client stories capture some of our recent advocacy...
LAA Preserves Tenant's Section 8
A client came to us after being terminated from the Section 8 program for allegedly having unauthorized occupants residing with her in her apartment. Without the Section 8 assistance, the client could not afford to pay rent and was in danger of becoming homeless. The alleged unauthorized occupant was actually the client's abusive ex-boyfriend, who had gone to the client's Section 8 worker claiming that he and his son lived with her. He provided the worker with written statements to that effect. In fact, however, our client was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of the ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend intimidated our client over a period of months, in which he would show up at her apartment and demand that he be allowed to stay. After several altercations in which our client was beaten and her car vandalized, she applied for a restraining order so that he could not return to the apartment. The court granted that order.
During her initial termination hearing, the hearing officer was not aware of the client's domestic violence history. As a result, Section 8 terminated her subsidy. LAA represented this client by contacting the Section 8 program director and provided proof of the client was a domestic violence victim. Federal law protects tenants who are victims of such abuse. Through our advocacy, the client was immediately reinstated to Section 8.


Maintaining Medicaid benefits for disabled client

LAA represented a severely disabled and mentally impaired client who was too ill to timely complete her Medicaid redetermination form, resulting in a termination of Medicaid. Her Medicaid assistance is essential for her to stay in the community, as it provides her with home care services and medical transportation, as well as other essential medical services. LAA advised our client to submit a hearing request by the termination date of December 31, 2012, which, under hearing rules, should have prevented termination of Medicaid pending the outcome of the hearing. Despite filing this request in a timely manner, the client's Medicaid was inappropriately cut off. LAA advocated on the client's behalf by contacting the Department of Social Services' counsel to get her benefits reinstated pending the hearing. Having bought her time to properly complete and submit her redetermination papers, with accommodation, this client has now been fully restored to Medicaid.These benefits are also critical to covering her hospitalizations, one of which occurred in early January. 


Using Tech to to Increase Access to Justice: LAA staff participate in National Technology Initiative Conference


The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) held its annual Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) conference from January 16- 18, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida and covered such issues as how the use of technology can enhance internal legal services operations and improve client services. The conference also engaged in discussions on effective management of 2013 TIG projects, including reporting and evaluation requirements. New Haven Legal Assistance is partnering with Statewide Legal Services on two TIG projects for 2013: creating a series of bilingual legal education videos in the fotonovela style, and building an "online classroom" for self-represented parties with classes that will guide them through solving their legal problem.  


Kate Frank, CTLawHelp content manager noticed a recurrent theme as legal aid programs struggle with increased demand for assistance. "People were talking a lot about creating web 'triage' tools. The idea is to use technology to direct our web visitors to appropriate resources quickly and efficiently. This would allow us to provide people with supports and resources that can best handle their legal needs. So that's something we're interested in exploring."


Reflecting on her experience, LAA's Information Technology Administrator, Kathy Daniels said "I find the TIG conference really energizing... it's an opportunity to get together with some very sharp tech people and to find out what is going on at other programs around the country."
Kathy noted that in addition to the emerging triage tools, TIG conferences have generated other major initiatives that improve access to courts and legal services, including ways for litigants to generate, e-file and save their own documents; mobile access to such services with location aware tools; and universally available document assembly services.

Executive Director Susan Nofi-Bendici, who was also in attendance, noted "we participated because of LAA's current work on the TIG-funded projects in Connecticut. But the real value of the TIG conference is bringing together the innovators in the legal aid community and brainstorming future ways to use tech to improve the legal system for people who can't afford a lawyer. Technology changes so quickly: for example, when the iPhone launched in 2007, who would have guessed that five years later 35% of low-income people would own smartphones? The adoption of new technologies by the courts and by our client community creates new opportunities for for increased access."  


Once the projects are completed, the online classroom and the fotonovela videos will be featured on  and

Stay Tuned... 
Join us for the New Haven Road Race
Labor Day September 2, 2013
new haven road race logo
New Haven Legal Assistance has been named as an official charity for the Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race. Last year, LAA received over $4,000.00 in contributions from race participants. This year's race will be held on Labor Day, September 2, 2013 and we are working to make it even more successful than 2012. Go to
 to register for the race and make a donation to LAA.
Looking ahead towards 50 years
We are planning our 50th anniversary celebration for 2014. We are looking forward to celebrating 50 years of service and advocacy with you next year!!





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For questions about New Haven Legal Assistance or to learn how you can help, please contact
Susan Nofi-Bendici, 203-946-4811, ext. 138 or