The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center’s vision is for all military veterans in Connecticut to live with adequate means, affordable health care, safe and secure housing, and peace of mind. CVLC aims to achieve that vision by transforming the lives of individual veterans and the local and national institutions on which they rely.
CVLC serves veterans who are confronting a wide variety of legal issues, including family, housing, criminal record expungement, bankruptcy, consumer debt, securing Social Security and VA benefits, employment, estate planning and military discharge upgrades. Formed in 2009, CVLC was the first program in the United States to integrate legal services on-site at VA mental health facilities in a medical-legal partnership (“MLP”). CVLC’s staff attorneys provide direct legal services to veterans. Additionally, CVLC leverages its resources to connect veterans with pro bono assistance from a volunteer corps of over 600 attorneys who have volunteered to help. To date, CVLC has helped over 1,200 veterans achieve their legal goals and overcome barriers to healthcare, housing and income.
CVLC serves indigent military veterans engaged in housing, employment, mental health, case management and/or substance abuse services at the VA or one of CVLC’s other medical-legal partners. Of the CVLC clients served, nearly 60% are homeless or recently homeless. Fewer than 20% are employed. One in five served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Almost half of CVLC’s clients served in combat. Clients’ median income is only $14,388. CVLC also serves a proportionately high rate of women veterans: in the past year, 14% of CVLC’s clients were females and of those 25 % served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Connecticut, women represent only 8% of the veteran population.
Grounded in a belief that the legal aid, health, housing and service communities are strongest and most efficient when working together, CVLC works in collaboration with government agencies and other providers of housing and employment programs that serve veterans.