HOFSTRA HELPS VETERANS

Veterans facing legal hurdles have allies on Long Island. Tonight, a look at how Hofstra University is changing the lives of our warriors in need.

Aired on November 1, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

THIS SEGMENT IS PART OF OUR CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE ON POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.

HERE IS AN UPSETTING STATISTIC FOR YOU.

DID YOU KNOW THAT VETERANS MAKE UP 8% OF THE NATION'S PRISON POPULATION?

BUT THAT'S JUST ONE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

SOME OF THE BIGGEST LEGAL CHALLENGES OUR VETERANS FACE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH PRISON OR THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AT ALL.

FROM BAD DISCHARGES AND BENEFIT COMPLICATIONS, OUR NATION'S VETS FACE SOME SERIOUS OBSTACLES ON THE HOME FRONT, BUT HELP IS AVAILABLE.

AND ONE OF THE PLACES OUR NATION'S VETERANS CAN FIND NEEDED GUIDANCE IS HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL.

HE HELPED WITH THE.

SHE IS THE DEAN OF THE LAW SCHOOL.

WE'RE DELIGHT TODAY WELCOME HER TO 'METROFOCUS.' GLAD TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

THANK YOU, JACK.

THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME TALK ABOUT AND HAVING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TO THE RESOURCES THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR VETERANS ON LONG ISLAND.

IT'S OUR PLEASURE.

AND BEGIN, THE NOTION OF RESOURCES BEING AVAILABLE IS SO IMPORTANT AND THE AWARENESS IS SO IMPORTANT.

LET'S LET'S START THERE.

A COUPLE THINGS I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT.

ONE IS A CLINIC THAT HOFSTRA IS DOING, A DAY LONG CLINIC.

AND IT'S DESIGNED TO PROVIDE THIS NOTION OF AWARENESS AND HELP FOR VETERANS HERE FROM THE LEGAL PERSPECTIVE.

TELL US HOW THIS CLINIC GOT STARTED.

EXACTLY.

WELL, APPROXIMATELY SIX YEARS AGO -- AND THIS IS THE 6th YEAR WE'RE GOING TO BE HAVING THIS ONE-DAY CLINIC -- A NUMBER OF HOFSTRA STUDENTS GOT TOGETHER, AND MANY OF THEM WERE VETERANS AS WELL.

AND THEY SAW A GREAT NEED.

AND THEY WANTED TO BE ABLE TO GIVE ADVICE TO VETERANS ABOUT BENEFITS, HEAR OTHER PROBLEMS THEY MIGHT BE HAVING, SEE IF THEY COULD REFER THEM TO A NUMBER OF OUR ALUMS WHO ARE ALSO VETERANS, AND SEE IF WE CAN GIVE THEM LEGAL ASSISTANCE AT A DIFFICULT TIME IN THEIR LIFE.

LET'S TALK ABOUT IT.

I WANT TO GET TO ISSUES IN A MOMENT, BUT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT EXACTLY HOW IT WORKS.

ON NOVEMBER 4th OF THIS YEAR, WE WILL BE RUNNING OUR 6th CLINIC AT HOFSTRA.

IT WILL BE RIGHT AT THE LAW SCHOOL.

AND OUR LAW SCHOOL, WE'RE ON THE SOUTH PART OF THE CAMPUS RIGHT AT HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY.

WE HAVE APPROXIMATELY 25 STUDENT VOLUNTEERS WHO WILL MEET AND GREET OUR VETERANS.

THEY WILL SIT DOWN WITH THEM.

THEY WILL TAKE AN INTAKE FORM FROM THEM, AND THEY WILL MATCH THEM WITH VOLUNTEER ATTORNEYS, AND THEN THEY FIGURE OUT A GAME PLAN.

HOW CAN WE HELP THIS INDIVIDUAL?

IS IT AN APPLICATION FOR BENEFITS?

IS IT AN APPEAL OF A DENIAL OF BENEFITS?

OR DOU THEY HAVE SOME OTHER PROBLEM?

I CAN TELL YOU BUT ONE QUICK STORY --

PLEASE.

A RECENT CASE FROM THE LAST YEAR.

WE HAD A VETERAN COME TO US AT THIS CLINIC WHO WAS DISCHARGED BECAUSE HE WAS LOSING HIS EYESIGHT.

AND HE WAS DISCHARGED FROM THE SERVICE, AND HE WAS HAVING TWO PROBLEMS.

NUMBER ONE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, HE WAS HAVING PROBLEMS RECEIVING BENEFITS.

AND NUMBER TWO, HE WAS HAVING A TOTALLY DIFFERENT TAX PROBLEM.

SO, WE SAT DOWN WITH TWO ATTORNEYS THAT DAY.

AND, NUMBER ONE, THEY SORTED OUT HIS BENEFITS PROBLEM FOR HIM.

AND, NUMBER TWO, THEY CAME UP WITH A PLAN TO TAKE CARE OF HIS -- THE TAX PROBLEM THAT HE WAS HAVING.

SO THAT'S THE TYPE OF CASE WE DEAL WITH ON A REGULAR BASIS AT THESE CLINICS.

AND I'M HAPPY TO TELL YOU THAT THE CLINICS HAVE EXPANDED NOW TO A FULL-TIME CLINIC AT HOFSTRA.

THE ROBERT W.

ENTEN MEN'S VETERAN CLINIC.

IT IS LOCATED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE LAW SCHOOL.

IT REALLY ASK A PR-- IS A PRIVA CLINIC WE RUN FOR HOFSTRA LAW.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NOVEMBER 4.

YES.

ONCE THE VETERANS MEET WITH THE LAWYERS AND ARE PAIRED UP WITH LAWYERS, I ASSUME THAT'S NOT THE END OF IT.

THE LAWYERS THEN WILL FOLLOW THROUGH, CORRECT, ON WHATEVER THEIR ISSUES ARE AND PROVIDE THE HELP THAT THEY NEED?

THAT IS CORRECT.

THE VOLUNTEER LAWYERS THAT ARE THERE ARE DEDICATED TO PRO BONO SERVICE AND DEDICATED TO THE VETERANS COMMUNITY.

THEY DO ONE OF TWO THINGS.

IF IT'S IN THEIR AREA OF EXPERTISE, WHICH WE REALLY TRY TO MATCH THE CLIENT WITH THE ATTORNEY IN HIS OR HER AREA OF EXPERTISE, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO MEET TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM.

IF IT'S SOMETHING THAT THE LAWYER FEELS SHOULD BE REFERRED TO ANOTHER ATTORNEY WHO POSSIBLY, LIKE IN THE SITUATION WITH THE TAX PROBLEM OF THE VETERAN WHO WAS REALLY HAVING A HARD TIME WITH HIS VISION AS WELL, THEN THEY WILL BRING IN OTHER ATTORNEYS TO AID AND ASSIST.

WELL, THAT HAS BEEN A MARVELOUS PROGRAM, AND CERTAINLY THE WORK THAT YOU'RE DOING AT THE LAW SCHOOL, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, A WELL DESERVED REPUTATION FOR BEING EXCEPTIONAL LAW SCHOOL, PRODUCING EXCEPTIONAL LAWYERS, AND CERTAINLY EXCEPTIONAL LAW STUDENTS.

AND I THINK WHAT YOU'RE DOING HERE IS SO HELPFUL FOR THE VETERAN COMMUNITY AND THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE.

JUDGE, WANT TO THANK YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

AGAIN, OUR THANKS TO YOUR FACULTY AND YOUR STUDENTS AND THOSE VOLUNTEERS FOR ALL THAT YOU'RE DOING.

WE'LL CONTINUE TO TOUCH BASE IN THE FUTURE AND GET CAUGHT UP ON EVERYTHING THAT YOU'RE DOING.

OUR THANKS TO YOU.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU.

BE WELL, AND WE'LL TALK AGAIN SOON.

OUR PLEASURE AND PRIVILEGE.

THANKS, JACK.

A REMINDER OUT THERE TO YOU, FOR MORE INFORMATION ON VETERANS AT THE HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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