Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) is a non-profit regional law firm that provide high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.
Veterans’ Project Addresses PTSD and Legal Needs for Low-Income Individuals
Approximately 8 million American adults experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) each year, and the problem is especially prominent among military veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. While PTSD may present itself differently from person to person, common symptoms can include reliving or experiencing the event, hyperarousal or being on guard, avoidance of people, smells, sights, or sounds that cause triggers, and negative changes in beliefs and feelings.
LAWO has developed a program to address the specific needs and issues of our military community experiencing PTSD and the negative living situations that may come with it. The Veterans’ Project covers multiple counties in western Ohio and assists veterans across a spectrum of legal and social needs, including healthcare, financial stability, family issues, education, and housing. Through Legal Aid Line, our central intake system, and a variety of outreach initiatives with participating partners, LAWO conducts a legal needs assessment for low-income veterans who may have unmet legal needs.
LAWO Attorney Robyn Traywick explained some of ways in which we regularly help this underserved population, “Our veteran community’s legal needs are varied and expansive. We work on landlord tenant cases and assist veterans with understanding their rights and responsibilities as a tenant. We have veterans’ cases involving the need for divorce/dissolution and child support arrearages. We work with veterans experiencing severe PTSD symptoms, helping them navigate other areas of their lives. We even assist veterans with removing legal barriers to them being able to obtain a state ID or driver’s license.”
Traywick also shared that LAWO meets veterans where they are in their communities by conducting community trainings on the social determinants of health, impact on housing issues due to financial instability, and the important role legal aid takes on to reduce or eliminate these barriers. If an eligible veteran takes the legal needs assessment, LAWO may be able reference the individual to our community partners who can provide critical services, including food, clothing, and housing. Low-income veterans are encouraged to call our Legal Aid Line at (888) 534-1432 to see if they qualify for assistance.