Tidbits and Thoughts . . .  Legal Aid's Online  News
October 31, 2017

Congratulations to Legal Aid's 2017 Pro Bono Celebration Honoree John Egan 
for  his work with the Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center at Legal Aid (HIJC).



John with HIJC staff attorney, Ashlee Drake Berry at the 
Hawaii Access to Justice Commission's 2017 Pro Bono Celebration.

"Building a Just Society"
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Executive Director's Corner

Each year in October, we celebrate the significant contributions of attorneys who give back and honor their commitment to provide legal services to the most in need. This year, Legal Aid recognized John Egan at the annual Pro Bono Celebration at the Supreme Court. 

His pro bono work with HIJC is decades long and this honor is long overdue. John always makes time in his busy practice to help those most in need. Pro bono cases are always part of his case load and it is rare when he says no. He is part of the small community of immigration law attorneys in the State of Hawai'i and one of the ones that comes to mind immediately when you think of someone who will always be there to help.

Each year, he has assisted with the organizing and directing of the naturalization workshops to assist legal permanent residents gain citizenship which is supported by various congressional and legislative officials.

But in addition, as Senior HIJC Attorney Bow Mun Chin shared, "John has also always made himself available to staff to discuss complex immigration issues. He has freely provided guidance especially when we are confronted with difficult and perplexing case issues. This free exchange of ideas has allowed our staff to multiply its ability to plot case strategy as well as to initiate discussions of original and unique ways to assist its clients."

John is an inspiration to all of us and we thank you for your service.

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii Helps Residents Apply for Health Insurance
During Open Enrollment Period November 1-December 15, 2017
The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii encourages Hawaii residents without health insurance to find affordable coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Hawaii residents who currently have Marketplace plans from this past year should update their information in their Marketplace accounts.  Open enrollment is from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.  After December 15, residents can enroll in Marketplace plans only if they qualify for Special Enrollment.  Coverage begins as late as January 1, 2018.

Residents without health insurance coverage may face a fine on their tax returns.  Fines may include the higher of these two amounts: $695 per adult (and $347.50 per child) up to $2,085 or 2.5% of the annual household income in excess of the return filing threshold up to the national average premium for a bronze level health plan.  In 2016, the national average was $2,676 per year for an individual.

The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's Health Care Navigators can provide additional assistance for free.  To make an appointment, please call (808) 536-4302, Monday-Friday from 9:00 - 11:30 A.M. and 1:00 - 3:30 P.M. or visit  www.legalaidhawaii.org
 for more information. 

Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center
The Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center partnered with the Department of Education to host an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) clinic for citizens of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau at Waipahu Elementary School. Attendees received legal information and assistance with employment authorization documents.  "With such a large turnout, HIJC hopes to host another EAD clinic with more volunteer attorneys to assist with the high demand." -Tatjana Johnson, HIJC managing attorney

AmeriCorps members part of American Red Cross service project
Honolulu Legal Aid AmeriCorps members participated in a joint American Red Cross-AmeriCorps service project titled "Sound the Alarm-Save a Life."  AmeriCorps Vista, national-and-state, and SeniorCorps members, along with Red Cross volunteers attended. The group was divided into teams of 4 - taking on the roles of Installer, Assistant, Safety Educator, and Documenter, and installed up to 3 smoke detectors for each of the 60 participating households in the Ala Wai/Mo'ili'ili condo area, next to the Marco Polo building. -Jasmine Jin, AmeriCorps Homeless Advocate
The service project resulted in:
  • 75 Smoke Alarms Installed
  • 44 Homes Made Safer
  • $150 donations collected for the Red Cross 

  Honolulu AmeriCorps members (back, l-r): Monica Luat, Honolulu Asset Protection; Ming Tanigawa-Lau, Windward office; Jasmine Jin, Homeless Program; Anya McClenton, Honolulu Family Unit ; (front, l-r): Racheal Renyon, Intake/Center for Equal Justice; Alexis Mukaida, Intake/Center for Equal Justice.

Children and Youth Day 2017
Thank you to AmeriCorps members Jasmine Jin, Anya McClenton, and Alexis Mukaida for serving the families that came to visit the Legal Aid booth at this year's Children and Youth Day at the State Capitol.  The annual event is held on the first Sunday in October to celebrate and honor our youth.

Legal Information for Seniors at Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center

Mahalo to Catholic Charities Hawaii and the  Law Office of Samuel K.L. Suen, LLLC for speaking to seniors at the Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center about estate planning and advance health care directives.
AmeriCorps members Sonia Song and Gina Okuda-Stauring attended the "Out of the Darkness - Community Walk" in Waimea. The walk was organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

"I feel it is important to get the community involved and continue the awareness, at the close of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Currently it is an epidemic on Kauai and as of last month, there have been 21 suicide deaths reported in 2017.  Double last year and higher than any year since 2012.  The 2017 victims range in age from 20 to 88.  We have many legal services to help all.  We hope to spread awareness in the pursuit of justice and fairness." -Gina Okuda-Stauring, Kauai AmeriCorps Advocate

"Both Sonia, my son Brandon Stauring, and myself participated in a very moving and informational day 
in remembrance of the suicide victims and family." -
Gina Okuda-Stauring, Kauai AmeriCorps Advocate
Hilo, Kona
Hope Services Outreach
Kona Legal Aid paralegal Lisa Webb and AmeriCorps member Vita Zamedyanskiy conducted an outreach at Hope Services in Kailua Kona. Legal Aid offers this outreach to advise those that are homeless on how they can obtain documents such as their ID, birth certificate, and Social Security card. This outreach is twice a month and very helpful for the homeless community who are unsure of how to go about obtaining legal documents. 

Faith Based Summit on Family Homelessness
The summit is a yearly event for non-profit organizations, agencies, as well as people of the faith-based communities of West Hawaii to gather and receive valuable information on the state of family homelessness.  Attendees proposed opportunities to provide support and make connections to see what type of resources are available to families on this side of the island.

Hot Topics

Low-Income Tax Clinic 
Nathan Gooding, LITC attorney represented a client in a dispute with the IRS.  In gratitude for Nathan's advocacy, the client provided a fruit arrangement and a substantial donation to support Legal Aid's work.

Mountain West Directors
Legal Aid's Executive Director, M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina attended the annual meeting of the Mountain West Directors where she heard from Legal Services Corporation (LSC) President Jim Sandman, explored new data dashboards being created by LSC, and discussed with other Directors about innovative projects in the west.

To learn more about Legal Aid, LSC, and the impact of legal services in the community click here.


Legal Aid receives LSC's Technology Initiative Grant to expand language access online
Legal Aid was recently awarded a grant from LSC's Technology Initiative Grant, a federally funded program, to support the expansion of language access on Legal Aid's websites and online legal resources. 
"With nearly one in four Hawaii residents speaking a language other than English at home, bridging our communications gap is critical to ensuring equal access for all in our community. This federal funding will empower our local community by expanding access to housing information, family support services, immigration services, public benefits, and other legal assistance provided by the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.  For more than sixty-five years, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has been committed to serving the most vulnerable in our society, and this grant will help to further support their great work." -Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)

Visitor Industry Charity Walk
The Charity Walk is a statewide event in May that occurs on Hawaii Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu to support many of the state's non-profit organizations.  Next year's Charity Walk scheduled for May 19, 2018.

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.