Friday, December 4, 2009
Pictured Above: The Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma group at the 2009 Oklahoma City AIDS Walk
The Oklahoma City’s AIDS Walk was a huge success this year, with thousands of dollars in grants distributed among several local nonprofit agencies at the World AIDS Day Remembrance Service. Of those nonprofits, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma was honored to receive $8,200 in grants for the Statewide HIV/AIDS Legal Resource Project.
Though the project is physically located within the Oklahoma City Legal Aid Law Office, it serves all 77 counties statewide. The project assists with the civil legal problems of low-income individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Clients can call the HIV/AIDS Legal Resource Project's toll free number at 866-817-8151 for confidential assistance or to see if they qualifty.
Pictured above: Marilyn Staats & Marveda Stinson
The project, run by Marilyn Staats, Staff Attorney and Project Director, and Marveda Stinson, Legal Assistant, has been assisting clients since 1992.
“This grant is so important because it shows how supportive the AIDS community is of our program. To have our services recognized as being vital to the community says a lot,” said Staats.
The project closed 132 cases in 2008 and each year, the number of cases closed continues to go up. Plans are currently under way to add a third employee in Tulsa under the HIV/AIDS Legal Resource Project so that clients can be better served in Eastern Oklahoma.
“The majority of the cases we deal with have to do with housing or homeless issues,” said Staats, “because most of our clients are disabled, they can often go homeless or are forced to go without medical care if they don’t receive legal help.”
Marilyn and Marveda make it a point to speak with each potential client that calls in. With the client to attorney ratio being so high at Legal Aid, several cases are referred to pro bono attorneys. Marilyn and Marveda are always seeking assistance from private attorneys across the state who are looking for pro bono opportunities.
In addition to the Oklahoma City AIDS Walk, the project is funded in part by the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the Inasmuch Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
If you are a laywer who is interested in a pro bono opportunity with the HIV/AIDS Legal Resource Project or would like to learn more, you can e-mail Marilyn Staats at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her directly at 405-488-6779.