Tidbits and Thoughts . . .  Legal Aid's Online  News
September 29, 2017
   


Remembering Legal Aid Board Member Alice Greenwood

 
Photo credit: Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Alice Ululani Greenwood, with her adopted son Makalii Hatchie in 2007, became an outspoken advocate for the rights of the homeless after she unexpectedly became homeless herself. Greenwood died July 8 at age 71.


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Executive Director's Corner

One of the special things about Legal Aid is our supportive Board of Directors. Composed of twenty-seven Directors, our Board is a unique combination of attorneys, those who are eligible for our services, and one presidential appointee, all who bring their own unique voice to the Board.
 
Fifteen of our seventeen attorneys are appointed by the Hawai'i State Bar Association while two are appointed by the Board itself. Our attorney Directors come from private practice, government, and the business sector. Our nine client eligible Directors are appointed by partner agencies, including Kauai Economic Opportunity, Susannah Wesley, Alu Like, Honolulu Community Action Program, Ka Hale Pomaika'i, Laulima Kuha'o, Maui Mediation Center, Kona Neighborhood Place, and Hale Aloha O Hilo Habitat for Humanity. Our final director is appointed by the president of the board. The Board meets every other month, generally on the last Wednesday of the month.
 
The Board of Directors is currently lead by President Joanne Grimes, a partner at Carlsmith Ball, and Vice-President Joseph Boivin, Senior Vice President at Hawai'i Gas. We are also happy to welcome Lea Hennessy, Kurt Murao, Waimagalo Seto, and Jan Tamura who joined the Board in the last three months.
 
Mahalo to our Board of Directors for their leadership and commitment to access to justice.

Aloha,
-Nalani
Remembering Legal Aid Board Member Alice Greenwood
Advocate for homeless was 'woman in search of justice'
By Timothy Hurley
July 21, 2017
Honolulu Star Advertiser

There was a time when Alice Greenwood looked down and scoffed at the homeless. Then she became homeless herself. 
Greenwood, who died July 8 at the age of 71, not only pulled herself up off Maili Beach, but went on to become a high-profile advocate for the area's homeless community as well as a champion for many other issues affecting the Leeward coast.

"She was a role model," said Patty Teruya, a 22-year member of the Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board. "The bottom line is that she made a very big difference."
Legal Services Corp., Microsoft plan voice-response portals for legal advice

Someday in the not too distant future, legal aid questions may be answered in the cloud by the jurisprudential version of Alexa. But, not waiting for that day, legal aid providers are pushing forward plans to allow those seeking legal help to tell their stories through the internet at a site that could guide them through the available resources and appropriate contacts.

Microsoft is investing $1 million into a program partnership with the Legal Services Corp. and Pro Bono Net to develop web portals to access legal aid information. The funds cover the technology, implementation costs and services, which the LSC is hoping to have available by the second half of 2018.

In April, the LSC announced that legal aid assistance programs in Alaska and Hawaii were selected as state pilot programs because of their track records in meeting civil legal needs and their geographies, which pose challenges in the traditional delivery of legal services.
In June, the LSC released The Justice Gap: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans, which reports that "86 percent of civil problems reported by low-income Americans in the past year received inadequate or no legal help."

"Many studies have examined the magnitude of the justice gap," says James Sandman, the LSC's president, "and they all show that the vast majority of the legal needs of low-income people just don't get addressed. And when they don't, our legal system is not working as it was intended to work."

"We need to make justice far more accessible to people who don't have access to a lawyer," Sandman adds.
Oahu    
Microsoft and Pro Bono Net staff visit Honolulu Legal Aid office

Members of the Microsoft and Pro Bono Net staff visited the Honolulu office to learn more about Legal Aid and Hawaii's unique legal system in preparation for the development of a new, statewide online system aimed at increasing access to legal help. As part of a public-private partnership with the Microsoft Corporation, the Legal Services Corporation, and Pro Bono Net, Hawaii and Alaska were the states chosen to pilot the program. The first of its kind for Microsoft, the program will use state-of-the art cloud and user-centered technology to enable people to better navigate the legal process, understand their options, and find solutions for their civil legal problems.

       


   












Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center (HIJC)

Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center at Legal Aid is hosting free legal clinics at various locations on Oahu to help citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau apply for the Employment Authorization Document ("EAD") with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). Citizens from these countries are part of the Compact of Free Associations with the United States, which allows them to travel to, live in, and work in the United States without a visa. COFA citizens must have a valid passport as well as an I-94 arrival-departure record to work in the US, access government benefits, and apply for licenses and other forms of identification.  

For those who arrived in the US before 2013, the cost to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged I-94 arrival-departure record is $455. A fee that is cost prohibitive for most of our clients and prevents our clients from escaping the cycle of poverty and homelessness. However, an application for an EAD is free for COFA citizens, and the EAD can be used in lieu of an I-94 arrival-departure document to get a job, a Hawaii driver's license, and other benefits. Another huge benefit is that a COFA citizen can get a 5-year driver's license with an EAD instead of a 1-year termed license with an I-94 arrival departure record. 

On September 6, HIJC outreach specialist Joanne Loeak and HIJC managing attorney Tatjana Johnson hosted a free legal clinic at Waipahu Safe Haven to assist applicants. Joanne and Tatjana will be at Waipahu Safe Haven the first Wednesday of every month. More outreaches are planned at Kuhio Park Terrace, St. Elizabeth's, and homeless shelters.  

The HIJC outreach team along with Health Care Kokua members  Ronnette Ome and Sereny Cholymay also provided outreach services at Hope Shelter on issues related to the Employment Authorization Document.

Tatjana Johnson and Joanne Loeak assist a client at Safe Haven Resource Center
 
" It is always a pleasure to have you ladies come to the center whenever you are able to!!!  Tatjana, "Kommol tata!" (Thank you very much) for coming out to Safe Haven Resource Center yesterday and every first Wednesdays of each month!!  We truly appreciate the time you take off to come all the way out here to help us :))  With many of these immigration and legal matters that our COFA people go through on a daily basis, we are very happy for your services that have made life easier and more understandable.  THANK YOU too Joanne for always driving down here every week to meet with many of our people and assist with many issues.  We are very grateful for your services. Once again, Kommol tata!"

HIJC at Legal Aid will be hosting a free Employment Authorization Document "EAD" Legal Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Brigham Young University-Hawaii
 
Staff members Eden Annandale and Bow Mun Chin from Legal Aid's Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center joined House Representative Andria Tupola and other speakers for a talk story Q&A on human trafficking at the BYU-Hawaii campus. Bow Mun and Eden answered questions from students, most of whom were from the Legal Studies program.  

 

Kauai  
The Kauai Legal Aid office held its annual Elder Law Fair at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. The event is for Kauai's Seniors and their families with lectures on topics that include estate planning, consumer issues, safe home tips, elder fraud awareness and prevention. The event had wonderful speakers, great information for the community, and amazing donations from community businesses.


Kauai Legal Aid office Paralegal Damione Verdusco, Paralegal Donna McMillen, Managing Attorney Linda Vass, back row: staff attorney Jay Mason and AmeriCorps Gina Okuda-Stauring

 
"And this last picture is of the audience asking questions, lol. No, actually they were doing a stretching exercise with one of our speakers." - Donna McMillen, Kauai Legal Aid Paralegal
Maui, Molokai, Lanai  
We wish outgoing Maui Legal Aid managing attorney Nicole Forelli all the best in her new adventures. Nicole celebrated 13 years at Legal Aid with staff from the Lanai and Maui offices. 

    
 
Hilo, Kona

At a ny F o odland during the month of September you can donate specifically to the Big Island Legal Aid offices by using your makai card and entering our organization code: #78360  

Hot Topics

Welcome AmeriCorps Class 2017-2018

Legal Aid is excited to welcome a new and very talented AmeriCorps class. AmeriCorps Advocates play critical roles in assisting clients with their legal needs and working with volunteer attorneys at the court self-help centers. 



Danielle Woo , Honolulu Self Help Center
Monica McConnell , Honolulu Self Help Center
 Sasha Georgiades , Honolulu Self Help Center
Monica Luat , Honolulu Asset Protection
 Racheal Renyon , Intake/CEJ
Jasmine Jin , Homeless Program 
 Alexis Mukaida , Intake/CEJ
Anya McClenton , Honolulu Family Unit
Katie Kamelamela , Hilo Self-Help Center
Sonia Song , Kauai Self-Help Center
Gina Okuda-Stauring , Kauai AmeriCorps Advocate
Vita Zamedyanskiy , Kona AmeriCorps Advocate
Sarah Kelly , Kona Self-Help Center
Robert Topenio , Leeward AmeriCorps Advocate
Ming Tanigawa-Lau , Windward AmeriCorps Advocate
Legal Aid Alumni and Staff Pau Hana




The long awaited pau hana with Legal Aid alumni brought together former board members, Legal Aid staff, and past AmeriCorps members - now practicing attorneys. The evening was an opportunity to reconnect, meet new staff members, and grow the Legal Aid ohana. Thank you to Ryker Wada, former HNL Asset Protection Unit managing attorney, for organizing the event. 

 
Legal Aid alumnae Madeleine Young (HNL Asset Protection Unit staff attorney), Stacia Silva (Windward managing attorney), Carolann Rowe (Leeward office GA-SSI paralegal), Rachel Hoke (Windward office GA-SSI paralegal), Tara Arimoto (HNL Family Unit staff attorney), Desiree Hikida (Windward staff attorney),  Alyssa Simbahon (Leeward office AmeriCorps Advocate).
Announcements

Give Aloha at Foodland

At any Foodland during the month of September you can donate to Legal Aid by using your makai card and entering our organization code:  #77736
 
Based on how much is donated Legal Aid will receive matching donations from Foodland and Western Union. Please spread the word!

Welcome new staff member Lindsay Kukona Pakele 
 
Legal Aid welcomes Lindsay Kukona Pakele as a new Staff Attorney with the Asset Protection Unit in Honolulu.  Lindsay is a 2014 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, a Chris Iijima Fellow summer law clerk with the Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center at Legal Aid, and a former Leeward Legal Aid office volunteer.  

Legal Aid is hiring!

Staff Attorney - Maui County
The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, a non-profit law firm, seek applicants for a Staff Attorney position to serve Maui County. Responsibilities include client representation primarily Family Law, Housing, Consumer Protection and Public Assistance Benefits. Staff Attorneys also participate community engagement, outreach and education, statewide initiatives, and in and day-to-day supervision of non-attorney staff.

Housing Staff Attorney - Honolulu
Legal Aid is also seeking applicants for a Staff Attorney in the Honolulu office. Responsibilities include client representation primarily in private Landlord/Tenant disputes as well as Section 8 and Public Housing. The Housing attorney serves as a resource for other Legal Aid attorneys and paralegals. The Staff Attorney also participates in community engagement, outreach and education, statewide initiatives, and in and day-to-day supervision of non-attorney staff.

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references to jobs@legalaidhawaii.org. No Calls Please.