OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Two words that just don’t seem right together

Veterans.  Poverty.

Doesn’t it seem like these two things just shouldn’t go together?

And yet, so sadly, for too many veterans, they do.  And to bring some awareness to this issue, we posed this question to the OneJustice network in our February justice contest:

Which county in California, after Los Angeles and San Diego, has the highest number of veterans living in poverty?

And what a range of guesses we received!  Your guesses submitted on facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn included: Orange, Kern, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Stanislaus, Solano, Madera, Riverside, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Bernardino, and Sacramento.  All great guesses!

And the answer is (drum roll please……..):San Bernardino County, with over 8,100 veterans living at or below the poverty line.

One person posted the correct answer: Martha Wright.  Thank you for playing, Martha!  Your OneJustice water bottle is on its way to you.

In 2013, OneJustice launched an initiative to help bring legal assistance to veterans throughout California.  With over 1.8 million veterans in the state, thousands of veterans are living in poverty, and many are homeless.  These veterans face a host of legal problems – ranging from inappropriate denials of veterans benefits and medical care, to legal barriers to employment, to divorce and child custody, and more.

We are proud to partner with Equal Justice Works to bring their Veterans Legal Corps Fellows to California, where our seven Fellows are placed at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Inner City Law Center to serve low-income veterans in Los Angeles.  And your wonderful support for the Justice Bus Project has helped bring life-changing legal help to veterans living in rural and isolated areas.Veterans in Poverty in California

Recently we’ve been crunching some pretty sad numbers to determine which counties have the highest number of veterans living in poverty with the lowest number of local attorneys who could provide pro bono assistance.  We know those counties – with many veterans living in poverty and fewer local attorneys to help – that is where our volunteers can make the most difference.

This chart shows the results of our research.  Many counties have more attorneys than low-income veterans.  In these counties, the local bar should be a viable pro bono resource.  But some counties – like San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern, Fresno, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus – have 2 or even more low-income veterans for every local attorney.  These areas are where bringing in Justice Bus volunteers can make all the difference.

And this is why the Justice Bus Project has been doing trips to serve veterans in the Inland Empire – both San Bernardino and Riverside counties.  And it’s why we are exploring doing trips to Kern and Fresno counties.

Your support keeps these vital services flowing to veterans in need.  Thank you!

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