Executive Director of Communications
UCLA School of Law
LOS ANGELES, CA, September 30, 2013 -- The Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP)—a new collaborative partnership of the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), Inner City Law Center (ICLC) and UCLA School of Law—will launch on October 2, 2013 at The Edison, in downtown Los Angeles.
LA HLPP will provide access to legal services and policy research support for the more than 60,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in Los Angeles previously left without any system of centralized legal support. The collaboration is designed to utilize the resources of pro bono attorneys from LACBA’s AIDS Legal Services Project, law students and public policy research from UCLA and staff attorneys from DRLC and ICLC to create a new major service resource for Angelinos living with HIV and struggling to receive care.
“Among the populations now being hit hardest by HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles, HIV discrimination and stigma add to the existing burdens of poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate health care, homophobia and racial discrimination,” said Shawn Kravich, DRLC HIV Law Project Director/LA HLPP Director. “For individuals living with HIV/AIDS, legal services are crucial because they are essential for keeping other vital services secure; they are often an invisible linchpin in the continuum of HIV care.”
The project will create a centralized intake system that clients can call for brief advice and counseling, legal service screening and robust referrals. LA HLPP will also set up education and outreach programming and will engage local legal service providers, pro bono attorneys and law student volunteers in a broad network of resources.
“People living with HIV and AIDS face complex legal issues, including health care discrimination, medical privacy, insurance benefit denials and more,” said Laurie Aronoff, Director of the AIDS Legal Services Project of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, which has been providing pro bono legal representation to people living with HIV and AIDS for more than 27 years. “Despite the gains in protecting these rights in the past years, there is still a critical need to defend the basic legal rights of those living with HIV. This new collaboration will enable each of our organizations to bring its expertise in order to create a centralized legal services system to protect these legal rights.”
“LA HLPP will ensure people living with HIV/AIDS have meaningful access to health care, housing and employment,” said UCLA Law Assistant Dean Brad Sears, who helped design the new initiative with its community partners. “LA HLPP will also leverage UCLA School of Law’s students to support intake and outreach efforts, enabling students to build their skills through meaningful, hands-on opportunities.”
LA HLPP’s four partners bring expertise in the areas of disability rights litigation and client intake/counseling; pro bono lawyer referral and recruitment, coordination and oversight; and HIV/AIDS law and policy work.
Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) is the oldest cross-disability organization in the country. DRLC’s core mission is to advance the rights of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions and diseases through education, advocacy, and litigation.
The Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) is one of the largest metropolitan voluntary bar associations in the nation and has more than 21,000 members. LACBA is engaged in advancing the administration of justice and meeting the professional needs of lawyers. For more information on LACBA, visit www.lacba.org. As part of its mission, each year LACBA provides free legal services to thousands of low income people including battered women, immigrants and people living with HIV and AIDS. Launched at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, LACBA’s AIDS Legal Services Project (ALSP) uses a network of over 300 volunteer attorneys to provide direct one-on-one legal services, on a wide range of human rights and poverty law issues.
Inner City Law Center (ICLC) is a nonprofit law firm focused on housing, homelessness, and veterans' issues. As the only full-time provider of legal services on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, ICLC combats slum housing throughout Los Angeles and develops strategies to end homelessness. ICLC's staff of forty provides free, high-quality legal representation to low-income tenants, working-poor families, people living with HIV/AIDS, immigrants, people who are homeless or disabled, and veterans. ICLC's main projects include homelessness prevention, homeless veterans, slum housing, government benefits, and housing policy. Its HIV/AIDS project helps vulnerable clients eliminate barriers to safe and affordable housing and enrollment in public benefits programs, thereby improving their quality of life and long term health. For more information about ICLC’s services, please visit innercitylaw.org.
UCLA School of Law, founded in 1949, is the youngest major law school in the nation and has established a tradition of innovation in its approach to teaching, research and scholarship. With approximately 100 faculty and 970 students, the school pioneered clinical teaching, is a leader in interdisciplinary research and training and is at the forefront of efforts to link research to meaningful change in society and the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.law.ucla.edu.