The Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado raises money for Colorado Legal Services (CLS), Colorado’s statewide Legal Aid program. CLS is the only agency in the state that provides free legal services in civil cases to indigent clients in every Colorado county.
CLS operates like a legal emergency room. In conducting its triage, it gives priority to the poor and elderly in greatest economic and social need, focusing on legal issues that have an impact on basic needs, including at least minimally adequate income, food, shelter, utilities, necessary medical care, and freedom from domestic violence and abuse.
In 2012 alone, CLS directly served nearly 11,000 low-income clients, and stretched its limited resources with technology, pro se materials, self-help programs, clinics, and pro bono programs to provide assistance to many more.
So what does legal aid do for the clients it is able to serve?
- Obtains divorces, custody and child support for victims of domestic violence
- Maintains parent/child relationships in guardianship cases
- Improves family economic stability
- Prevents evictions
- Avoids mortgage or property tax foreclosures
- Prevents utility shut-offs
- Gains admission to low-income housing
- Enforces a tenant’s right to repairs
- Assists people with disabilities in obtaining public assistance
- Helps individuals and families maintain necessary public benefits
- Assists veterans in obtaining benefits to which they are entitled
- Enforces wage claims
- Helps homeowners with foreclosure scams and predatory lending
- Stops or reduces debt collection activity
- Overcomes unfair or illegal sales contracts
- Enforces contract and warranty rights
- Obtains bankruptcy protection
- Prevents nursing home evictions
- Helps families secure or maintain health insurance
- Obtain necessary state identification or powers of attorney for health care