Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) Deputy Director Rodolfo Sanchez has been selected to be an inaugural fellow in a program developed by the Public Welfare Foundation, the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (NCMLP), and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA). The program aims to build healthcare expertise among legal aid advocates.
When Sandra was 9 years old, her mother sold her to a stranger who smuggled her into the United States. For several years Sandra was moved between different homes throughout Texas and forced to work as a servant. Many days she would go without food or suffer physical abuse. She was never paid for her work and never attended school. Eventually Sandra was placed with an elderly woman who needed constant care. The woman’s daughter recognized that Sandra’s situation wasn’t right and she needed help. Though Sandra isn’t sure what happened, the woman’s daughter assured her that she would never be forced to work again. She was 15 years old when the family saved her from that life.
After battles with alcohol and drugs, Robert, a veteran, had found himself living on the streets. He knew he needed help so he checked himself into the local VA hospital for treatment where he stayed for more than a year.
During that time Robert was unable to take care of his elderly father and asked his cousin to step in. Robert’s father gave the cousin power of attorney to make the decisions necessary for his care.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid was proud to welcome a group of students from the University of Texas School of Law to the Rio Grande Valley in early January. The students were participating in the fifth annual Pro Bono in January trip to help low-income Texans with their legal needs.
Teresa knew her aunt, Loretta, was in trouble. Though Loretta was sixty years old, she had the mental capacity of a 5 year old, had dementia, and was incontinent. She could no longer read, write, or even speak.
Loretta had been receiving assistance to help with her medical issues for the last five years. The assistance helped provide for medicines, diapers, provider assistance, and other expenses. But when it was time to renew those benefits, Teresa received a letter saying that her aunt did not qualify for the program. Teresa appealed the decision.
In late October torrential rains flooded the south Austin neighborhood of Dove Springs. More than 600 homes in the area were damaged and, several months later, many families are still struggling to recover.
The Austin community has come together to ensure that these difficult times do not keep the children of Dove Springs from having a joyful Christmas. Local residents have collected unused toys and gift cards to help families enjoy the holiday season. The donations were provided to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) at the Noche de Regalos event last week.