Low-income people face complicated legal problems every day related to housing, public benefits, consumer law, and access to justice. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are as likely as straight people to live at or below the poverty level. And transgender individuals are significantly more likely than non-trans people to struggle with poverty. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people face discrimination and harassment because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and receive unequal treatment under the law. All this complicates the already challenging legal issues facing other low-income people in Los Angeles.
Bet Tzedek, in collaboration with the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, addresses these problems by providing legal services designed for low-income LGBTQ people’s unique legal needs. To do that, we have teamed up with existing programs at the Center that are serving LGBTQ youth, seniors, and other members of the LGBTQ communities. Together, we:
- Created a one-of-a-kind legal clinic through the Center’s Seniors Services program, to provide culturally competent legal services for LGBTQ seniors. We draft wills and powers of attorney, and provide advice and representation related to housing, benefits, consumer matters, and other legal issues.
- Staff weekly legal clinics for homeless LGBTQ youth at the Center’s Jeff Griffith Youth Center and K/T Transitional Living Program, and provide legal education and outreach to homeless youth throughout Hollywood.
- Provide ongoing, comprehensive legal representation to transgender people seeking employment and services from the Transgender Economic Empowerment Program, including legal representation related to:
– Public benefits
– Name and gender changes
– Wage and hour violations