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bob’s story When Bob*, 62, came to Legal Aid for help, he was dying of heart failure. After being told by his doctors there was nothing they could do to save his life, Bob moved in with his brother and was cared for by a local hospice care provider. Although he was dying, Missouri Medicaid ruled that he was not eligible for Medical Coverage because he was not “permanently and totally disabled.”

Legal Aid accepted Bob’s case and discovered that the state had made several procedural mistakes and was wrong to have rejected Bob’s request for Medicaid. Legal Aid negotiated with the state and convinced the state to expedite the decision in Bob’s case. Within two months of Bob’s initial call to Legal Aid, he obtained Medicaid benefits, and coverage was retroactive to three months before he applied.

This vital medical coverage helped Bob pay for his hospice care and hospital visits, bringing him peace at the end of his life.

*RESPECT FOR OUR CLIENT’S CONFIDENTIALITY PREVENTS us from USING His REAL NAME.


Table of Contents Message from executive director

3

Success Stories

5

Programs & Services

11

special projects

12

55/15 project

13

medicaid appeals project

14

Case Statistics

15

neighborhood stabilization project

16

Volunteer Attorney Project

17

Office Locations

19

Service Area Map

21

Donations

22

Tributes

23

24

Financials

Legal Aid of Western Missouri has improved the lives of those in need through quality legal assistance since 1964. Legal Aid provides free legal assistance to people who need it most and can afford it least. With offices in downtown Kansas City, Joplin, St. Joseph, Warrensburg and a neighborhood office on Kansas City’s westside, Legal Aid serves a 40-county area where 244,000 people live in poverty.

“I was broke, alone and desperate. My life seemed hopeless and Legal Aid gave me hope.”

- Angie


THE BIG PICTURE We could easily fill this report with statistics and charts,

in 2009. The Mental Health

but our work is about much more than just numbers. To

Court Project makes sense

understand the heart of Legal Aid’s work for justice, you

because it allows hun-

must look at individual clients. They are mothers and

dreds of people with men-

fathers, sons and daughters-- people facing some of the

tal health problems, like

most difficult challenges in their lives.

Dave, to receive the treatment that will allow them

They include Heather, the victim of domestic violence

to lead stable, happy lives.

who with her daughter, has been trying to escape their

And so it goes with project

abuser for years. And Irma, a 75-year-old woman who

after project at Legal Aid.

discovered that all of the money had been taken from

You get the picture.

gregg Lombardi executive director

her bank account by a collection company that had obtained an illegal default judgment against her, leav-

All of our work is about changing lives and communities

ing her with nothing to pay the rent. They also include the

for the better. We hope our annual report helps you bet-

Robinsons, an elderly couple who faced the risk of losing

ter understand Legal Aid. More importantly, we hope by

their home as a result of an unlawful, predatory loan.

looking at what we do for individual clients and reading their stories, you get the “big picture” and see why we

Legal Aid protects the rights of more than13,000 cli-

are so passionately committed to justice for all.

ents like these every year. For every percentage point on a graph or wedge in a pie chart, there are hundreds of individual stories. To show the heart of our work, we first need to introduce you to Heather, Irma and the Robinsons. Their stories show why we have adopted our mission— improving the lives of those in need through quality legal assistance and how we fulfill that mission. Once you understand the heart of what we do, the big picture comes into focus and the numbers and charts mean more. Our partnership with Truman Medical Center that obtains Medicaid for more than 200 Truman patients each year is important because it means that 200 people like Bob obtained the healthcare they needed

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

3


heather’s story When Heather*, 34, came to Legal Aid seeking a

substitute mailing address through the Secretary of

divorce, she had already spent years trying to escape

State’s office. As a result of her injuries from the final

from her abusive husband. In fact, she and her young

assault, Heather suffered from symptoms of brain

daughter, Hannah, narrowly escaped a raging house

damage making it increasingly difficult to care for

fire that he had intentionally set. To protect herself

Hannah by herself. Heather requested that Hannah be

and her child, Heather obtained a protective order

allowed to temporarily stay with her paternal grandfa-

and moved repeatedly to hide from him. Ultimately,

ther, a retired police officer. Heather felt the grandfa-

Heather relocated from a large city to a rural area in

ther would protect Hannah and help with homework

Southwest Missouri.

during the school week.

Despite her precautions, Heather’s husband continued

Legal Aid represented Heather at a hearing and she

to find her wherever she went. The last time he found

was granted sole custody of her daughter. During

her, he smashed her in the head with a gun, causing

the proceedings, Heather asked that the grandfather

serious brain injury. Feeling hopeless and desperate

be permitted to have custody of Hannah during the

to escape the seemingly endless cycle of violence,

week, with Heather keeping Hannah every weekend.

Heather asked Legal Aid for help.

Legal Aid gave Heather peace of mind that she could stop running, and finally focus on making a safe, happy

Heather’s Legal Aid attorney drafted persuasive plead-

home for herself and her daughter.

ings, requesting that the Court keep Heather’s personal information confidential. Legal Aid enrolled her in Missouri’s Safe at Home address confidentiality program, which provides victims of abuse with a

*RESPECT FOR OUR CLIENT’S CONFIDENTIALITY PREVENTS us from USING HER REAL NAME & PHOTO.

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

5


jANE’s story Jane*, 48, was rejected by Medicaid for medical ben-

of these roles. Additionally, she cannot perform daily

efits on the basis that she was not disabled despite

living tasks and has a mental health case manager who

her long clinical history of hearing voices and being

assists her on a weekly basis.

diagnosed with major depressive disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia and paranoia. Jane’s mental health prob-

Legal Aid of Western Missouri represented Jane at

lems began after her sister and niece died tragically

a hearing regarding the denial of her application for

in a house fire. As a result of chronic psychosis, Jane

benefits. Legal Aid helped Jane identify her men-

struggles with concentration and memory problems

tal health problems and the limitations she has as a

every day. The voices she hears constantly confuse her

result of those problems. Legal Aid also arranged for

and prevent her from being able to work. Additionally,

Jane’s case manager to testify at the hearing. Jane

Jane has several physical problems including hip and

obtained a fully favorable decision and Legal Aid

shoulder pain following an accident that caused her

further assisted her in notifying her care providers

to have difficulty performing the physical functions of

of the new medical coverage.

her work. After high school, Jane completed two years of college but had to leave in the middle of her degree program because of her prominent mental illness. Jane has performed data entry and most recently worked as a nurse’s aide but is no longer able to function in either

*RESPECT FOR OUR CLIENT’S CONFIDENTIALITY PREVENTS us from USING HER REAL NAME & PHOTO.

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

7


Irma’s story Irma*, 75, struggled to survive on a modest fixed

From Legal Aid’s initial research on this issue, we found

income when she suddenly discovered her bank

that when some collection agencies buy the debt, they

account was empty, even though her Social Security

do not get any of the basic evidence that they would need

check had just been deposited. Unbeknownst to

to have to actually prove the debt (i.e., the original signed

Irma, a company had taken an unlawful default judg-

contract or any evidence of how the debt was incurred).

ment for $5,313 against her, resulting in the seizure of her funds.

Like Irma, the vast majority of the defendants in these cases do not have the financial resources to hire an

When Irma came to Legal Aid for help, she was referred

attorney to defend them, and have no idea of the

to our Volunteer Attorney Project. Irma’s volunteer

defenses that they could raise. Thus, even though the

attorney was able to assert a violation of the Fair Debt

collection agencies can’t prove the debt, they obtain

Collection Practices Act based on the fact that the

judgments against these clients. To add insult to injury,

claim against Irma was time-barred at the time of fil-

the collection agencies then garnish the defendants’ bank

ing. Using this as leverage, he was able to negotiate a

accounts. Many of the defendants are senior citizens liv-

satisfactory settlement.

ing only on Social Security. Missouri law has an exemption from garnishment for Social Security bank accounts,

When Legal Aid discovered that many seniors like Irma

but most seniors do not know about the exemption.

were being victimized by companies buying old debts, Legal Aid started a new initiative called the Zombie

Unfortunately, Legal Aid doesn’t have the resources to

Debt Project. Zombie Debt cases are credit card col-

handle these cases on a regular basis. Of the approxi-

lection actions in which the statute of limitations has

mately 50 cases Legal Aid accepts each year, we

passed before the lawsuit is filed. They are referred to

win almost all of them. Legal Aid and the Volunteer

as Zombie Debt cases because the collection agencies

Attorney Project are recruiting law firms to provide vol-

that buy these debts, for pennies on the dollar, are fil-

unteer attorneys to work on this important new proj-

ing lawsuits to bring the debts, metaphorically, back

ect so that we can assist other seniors like Irma.

from the dead.

*RESPECT FOR OUR CLIENT’S CONFIDENTIALITY PREVENTS us from USING HER REAL NAME & PHOTO.

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

9


PROGRAMS & SERVICES Family Law/ Domestic Violence Protection

Saving the homes of low-income, elderly and disabled

Foreclosure Prevention

Legal Aid’s experienced family law advocates help

homeowners is a Legal Aid priority. The problems our

ensure lasting safety for survivors of domestic violence

clients face include sub-prime loans with high interest

and their children. They provide legal representation

rates, predatory loans originated by fraud and decep-

to low-income victims in securing protective orders,

tive practices, job loss or disability, high medical bills

establishing paternity, and in obtaining divorces

and other debts, all resulting in delinquency on the

and orders for child custody and support. Due to our

home loan. To prevent foreclosure, staff intervenes

limited resources, the family law cases we accept all

directly with the loan servicer and its representatives

involve domestic violence, and are primarily situations

and attorneys to modify the loan, to make other repay-

in which children are at risk.

ment arrangements and to pursue other alternatives to foreclosure. Modifications often include a new note

From Legal Aid’s founding in 1964, domestic violence

with lower monthly payments, a lower fixed interest

prevention has remained one of the top priorities.

rate over the remaining term of the loan and the elimi-

Effective legal representation like this, combined with

nation of excessive or unlawful fees.

our ability to refer clients to other community resources for assistance with non-legal matters, has proven to be

The Central Office Foreclosure Prevention Team also

one of the most effective means of stopping domes-

files lawsuits seeking legal redress, including dam-

tic violence. With Legal Aid’s assistance, domestic vio-

ages, for homeowners with predatory mortgage loans

lence survivors are able to achieve physical safety and

in Jackson, Clay and Platte Counties. For example, the

financial security. With this support, victims are more

team can stop a foreclosure sale by filing a bankruptcy

likely to leave their abusers and have the personal and

petition, and the bankruptcy case can include an

financial capacity to establish a life free from abuse.

adversary proceeding with claims against the responsible mortgage lending predators. Through the bank-

Housing Assistance

ruptcy case the client can also gain more time to repay

Legal Aid’s housing advocates provide a broad array of

debts or get a fresh start. Staff also counsel clients on

legal services to clients living in poverty, focusing pri-

their options before and after a home is sold in fore-

marily on public housing and Section 8 housing. Staff

closure, providing housing transition assistance and

provide information about these affordable rental

related legal support.

options to hundreds of low-income, elderly and disabled families each year. We also assist people with

Healthcare

disabilities with accessibility issues and other clients

Legal Aid represents people who are permanently and

with disputes over eligibility for public and subsidized

totally disabled who have had their Medicaid benefits

housing. Our housing counselors frequently provide

denied or terminated. In 2009, we obtained Medicaid

advice or representation to help our clients avoid

benefits for more than 300 clients. This work gives our

wrongful evictions and improper rent calculations.

clients access to ongoing, pro-active medical care and medication and greatly increases their quality of life.

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

11


Consumer/Employment Law

Legal Aid also handles a variety of other issues of con-

Legal Aid advises and represents low-income clients,

cern to elderly or disabled individuals including con-

particularly seniors living on Social Security, in col-

sumer issues and debtor-creditor problems.

lection and garnishment issues, consumer issues and utility shutoffs. Staff draft powers of attorney for disabled and elderly clients to designate a reliable and trustworthy caregiver of their choice to help them with their medical and financial needs. Legal Aid attorneys represent grandparents raising grandchildren in guardianship proceedings to provide a stable home, school enrollment and to obtain medical records. Legal Aid assists many unemployed workers to obtain unemployment benefits when they are terminated

Immigration Law Legal Aid staff represent individuals and their families with immigration legal cases including applications for work permits, temporary and permanent resident status and United States citizenship. Legal Aid also provides advice on immigration issues to the immigrant survivors of domestic violence, as well as additional training to caseworkers at domestic violence shelters and others assisting battered and trafficked immigrants.

from employment through no fault of their own. Staff also advise employees regarding their rights under the Equal Employment laws.

Federal Benefits/Consumer Credit Legal Aid provides clients with assistance with federal benefit claims. Typical claims involve public assistance benefits such as Social Security, SSI, and Medicare.

“I thought I was going to lose everything, including my home. Thanks to the Volunteer Attorney Project I didn’t. I still have my house and all my furniture.”

-Doreen

Special Projects Our commitment, foresight and flexibility allow us to evolve and adapt to our clients’ changing needs. As a result, legal aid continues to develop innovative partnerships and programs designed to concentrate legal services in areas of particular need in our client community. Low-Income Tax Payer Clinic

Rural Assistance Now

Medical Legal Partnership

Urban Core Estate Planning Project

Children’s Mercy Hospital

VAP* Bankruptcy Project

Operation Breakthrough

VAP* Education Project

Swope Health Services

VAP* Elderly Outreach Program

Mental Health Court

VAP* Homeless Outreach/ZENAS

Migrant Farmworkers Project

VAP* Project Consent

Municipal court Defense Unit

VAP* Transactional Law Project

Neighborhood Attorney Project

Voices in Court

Neighborhood Stabilization Project

Warrant Relief Project

Project Assist-Northwest

Zombie Debt Eradication Program

Protecting Immigrant Families Project

12

*volunteer Attorney Project

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report


55/15 project Legal Aid’s West Office developed The 55/15 project to represent older immigrants to navigate the process to become naturalized U.S. citizens. There are many benefits – to vote, travel on a United States passport, advance immigration processing for their spouses and children, better job prospects and a more secure future. The immigrants who qualify for this category of immigration processing must be more than 55 years old and have their resident alien cards (“green cards”) for more than 15 years. For these long-term older residents, they are allowed to take the civics/history exam in their own language. For many, this is the first test they have taken in many years. An organized class is needed to help them master the 100-question study guide and prepare for the

Kansas City and St. Louis for the three trips

interview and test at the Immigration office

for each applicant. Once the naturalization

in Kansas City or St. Louis. The process begins

certificate is in hand, Legal Aid assists with

with an application to file with Immigration,

the US passport application and follow-up

$675.00 in fees to pay, required photos, at

steps and referrals for applications for fam-

least two visits to the Immigration office

ily members.

and a final trip for the oath ceremony at the Federal Courthouse.

Legal Aid’s “55/15” project represents and supports older residents through this compli-

The 55/15 project coordinates all of these

cated, expensive and often scary process and

various steps. Legal Aid staff are present at

in the end stabilizes families and communities

the Immigration office for the fingerprint-

with new citizens. Many older clients tell us

ing and interview/test dates to help with

they would not start this process without

additional forms, interpretation and advo-

Legal Aid’s assurance that we will be with

cacy. Staff sit beside the applicant provid-

them “every step of the way” to represent and

ing a skilled advocate and a friendly person

encourage until they shake the hand of the

during the nerve-racking interview and test.

Federal Judge as a new citizen.

Legal Aid recruits local associated agencies and volunteers in rural communities to provide the study sessions and transportation to

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

13


medicaid appeals project Since 1980, Legal Aid has represented patients in hearings for Medicaid coverage and negotiated appeals of Medicaid eligibility denials. In 2005, we obtained initial funding from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to begin the Medicaid Appeals project at Truman Medical Center (TMC). TMC is a nonprofit, healthcare system meeting the needs of the underserved regardless of their ability to pay. TMC staff screen low-income patients and refer cases to Legal Aid when permanently disabled patients have their medicaid benefits denied or Terminated. The Missouri Department of Social Services estimates that more than 400 residents of Jackson County are denied eligibility for

Legal aid’s work on this project in the last

Medicaid each month. The division that admin-

five years resulted on over $6.2 million in

isters Medicaid makes correct decisions for

medicaid payments to tmc. these reimburse-

most applications but some procedural mis-

ments make it possible for TMC to serve even

takes occur due to high caseload, staff turn-

more patients. Securing Medicaid benefits for

over, and complex regulations. Denials for

persons with disabilities greatly improves

TMC patients are often based on inaccurate

their quality of life by covering all physi-

or incomplete medical records. Legal Aid sub-

cal and mental health conditions, as well

mits cases for reconsideration and prepares

as preventative care, which helps reduce

complete information on the patients’ behalf.

emergency room visits. Legal Aid also has expanded the Medicaid Appeals Project to

Through this collaboration with TMC, Legal

Swope Health Services and will pursue addi-

Aid has obtained Medicaid Benefits for more

tional partners beyond the Kansas City met-

than 800 patients. Legal Aid staff win more

ropolitan area.

than 90% of the medicaid appeals they handle.

“Legal Aid was so helpful getting my Medicaid rejection reversed. I had a lot of confidence in my paralegal. He is a wonderful person and I am thankful for his ability.” 14

- Bradford

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report


2009 Case statistics Family Law & Domestic Violence

27.6%

1,753

Housing

20.4%

1,299

Federally Subsidized Housing

6.8%

433

Foreclosure Prevention

5.6%

358

Tenant Rights

5.0%

316

Other Housing Matters

3.0%

192

Healthcare

15.6%

990

Medicaid

12.9%

821

MO Healthnet

1.3%

82

Other Healthcare

1.4%

87

Consumer law

9.9%

630

Public Benefits

9.8%

625

Social Security Appeals

3.3%

211

Disability/ SSDI

2.6%

166

Income Maintenance

2.3%

149

Food Stamps

1.6%

99

Guardianship & Advance Directives

4.9%

311

Immigration & Individual Rights

4.8%

304

Pro Se Clinic for Marital Dissolutions

3.5%

222

Education & Employment Issues

2.7%

171

Low-Income Tax Clinic Cases

0.4%

26

Misc.

0.4%

26

100.0%

6,357

TOTAL civil CASES Total KCMO Municipal Court cases

6,288

total KCMO mental health court cases

415

Total 2009 closed cases

12,645

“My paralegal was the greatest! Without his help and commitment, I would not have won my case. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!�

- Sam

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

15


neighborhood stabilization project In late 2008, the City of Kansas City, Missouri received $7 million in federal stimulus funding to rehabilitate foreclosed and blighted properties in the City’s urban core. Legal problems threatened to let this funding go to waste. The City selected five non-profit agencies to do the rehab work. The program manager hired by the City initially demanded that the agencies agree to impractical contractual terms. For example, one requirement was to find qualified buyers for each of the prospective rehab houses before the restoration work started. The manager also had discretion to stop the agencies’ work at any point in the pro-

contractual terms and assisted the agen-

cess and to stop all payment for work done.

cies to understand and comply with the contracts and regulations for the rehab work.

In addition to the contractual issues, the non-profit agency/developers had to comply

The result: The non-profit agencies are able

with pages of complex and confusing federal

to use the $7 million in federal funding to

and local regulations.

restore many urban homes and return them to high-quality, owner-occupied or rented

To solve these problems, Legal Aid recruited

properties. The money earned from the sales

five private law firms to represent the non-

of the rehabbed houses creates a revolving

profit agencies on a pro bono basis. The par-

fund to restore even more homes in blighted

ticipating firms included: Bryan Cave LLP;

neighborhoods. All told, more than 100 Kan-

Polsinelli Shughart PC; Levy and Craig, PC;

sas City properties will be restored and avail-

Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP; and Sonnen-

able for families and neighborhoods will be

schein Nath & Rosenthal LLP.

stabilized as a result of this important legal work collaboration by Legal Aid and pro

The law firms, working together, negotiated with the City for fair and reasonable

bono law firm partners.


volunteer attorney project The Volunteer Attorney Project (VAP) places eligible clients with private attorneys who agree to provide free legal representation to those who otherwise could not afford it. The private attorneys who volunteer their time through VAP believe in the principle of equal access to the legal system, of making “justice for all” more than just a promise. These attorneys are convinced that our legal system must work for all its citizens, and they donate their time and considerable talents to make that ideal a reality. During 2009, VAP attorneys closed 513 cases representing more than 2,600 hours of legal representation equal to $531,408 in attorney time. Kansas City John Aisenbrey Dawn Akin John Allinder Jason Amerine David Anderson Teresa L. Anderson Louis Angles Russell C. Ashley Kimberly Athie John Azimi-Tabrizi James Barker David R. Barlow Thad Batson Sarah Baxter Richard Becker Jeff Befort William Beil James Bell Faiza Bergquist Gail Berkowitz James H. Bernard, Jr. Judith Berry Mary Ellen Bigge George Blackwood Allen Blair Andrea Bolstad Jana Booker Jonathan A. Bortnick Steve Bough Daniel Bowers Athena Brackmann Sherrie Brady Gerald W. Brenneman Doug Breyfogle John Brigg Lee B. Brumitt Fred Bryant MegaN Bui Anita Butler Robert N. Calbi John R. Campbell, Jr. Lydia Carson Jane Carter John Chick, Jr. Steve Chinn Carl Chinnery Michele Chollet Teresa Chu Joni Cole Gary Collins James Conlin Casey Connealy David Cooper

Edward Coulson Cheryl Cowherd John F. Crawford Charles Curry Don Dagenais Jason Davey Amy Sweeny Davis Donald L. Davis Gardiner Davis Kendall Day Tom M. Deacy Cathy J. Dean Jay Dehardt Sherry DeJanes Tim Denker John Dennis William Denton James Derting David Desimone Daniel Devine Coulter deVries Janeen deVries Jonathan Dilly Robert Dunsford Craig Edgar Steven Effertz Richard English Jerald Enslein James Ensz Ryan Evans Bill Farrar Addam G. Fera Brian Fields Jennifer Finch Nicole Fisher Rachel Foley Edward Ford, III Michael Fortin Edward Foster Jeanne Foster Dennis R. Fowler Brian Gaddy Traer Gaylean Todd Gangel Matthew Geiger Doug Gertner Stanley Gillespie Paul Glaser Christina E. Gondring Robert Gordon Charles Gotschall Heather Grossman Craig Gustafson Matthew Guilfoil

Angela Habeerbullah Lisa Haines Scott Haines Debora Hale Daniel Hall Jeremy Hart Heath Hawk Scott Conrad Hecht Darcy V. Hennessy James Henry Daniel Hiatt, Jr. David Hickey David Holdsworth Charice Holtsclaw Lynn Hoover Denise Howard Jason Howard Bill Hubbard Jim Hughes Sylvester James Christopher Javillionar Kathleen A. Jeanetta James Jenkins Monika Jenkins Matthew Jennings Charlie Jensen Dorothy Jensen Nancy Jochens Justin Johnston Barry Katz Carol Katzer David Kenner Joyce Kerber Teresa M. Kidd Kurt King Robert Kingsland Ryan Knipp Thomas Koehler Lloyd Koelker Chris Kopecky Frank Koranda Amy Krause Thomas Kreamer Erlene Krigel John Kurtz Anna Labella Adam LaBoda Sean LaFerte Lauri Laughland Ida Lee Kathryn Lee Ian Losasso Howard L. Lotven Kay Madden

Jean Maneke Alan Markowitz Rob McCulley Denise McNabb Ryan McNearney Lisa McWilliams Martin Meyers Mindy Morse Tim Murphy Joseph Nastasi Scott Nehrbass Jason Nonnemaker Patrick O’Brien Hugh O’Donnell Vincent O’Flaherty Michael R. Ong James Overman Jessie Paschall Ryan Patton Holly Pauling-Smith Elliot Payne Brad Pemberton Jim Petrie Steve Petry Roger Phillips William D. Piedimonte Kathryn Pietarila John R. Pink Robert Pitkin Melissa Posey Susan Prather Jennifer Reagan Robert W. Richards Tracy Robinson Jason Romero James Rosenbloom Tom Roszak John Ryan, Jr. Neil Sader Steve Sanders Mark Sappington Ben Schmitt Victoria Schroeder Scott Seitter Judith Sharp David Shaver Malika Simmons John M. Simpson Walter Simpson Amanda Smith Burt Smoliar Eric Snider John Sommer Julie Somara

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

Shannon Sorensen David Spencer Janice Stanton Robert Stopperman Bruce Strauss Steven Streen Larry Swall James Swaney Susan D. Szcucinski Linda H. Tabory Paul Tancredi Scott Thein Sheila Thiele Ron Thiewes Frederick Thompson, IV Brian Tillema James Tippin Scott Tschudy Lawrence Tucker Laura Tyler Courtney Waits Brian Webb Jeremy Wikler Rob Willard Barbara Williams Edward Williams Chas. D. Wilson, Jr. Flora Winitz Brent Winterberg Lindsay L. Wood Teresa Woody Katherine Worthington Lorna Wright Philip Wright Tracy Wrisinger Ernie Yarnevich Chris Yotz Eric Ziegenhorn

Joplin Tina Longnecker

St. Joseph Michelle Carpenter Suzanne Kissock David Tushaus

Warrensburg Chris Benjamin John Giorza Meryl Lange

17


office locations Joplin

paralegals, a legal secretary and several volunteers. For

A staff of four attorneys, two paralegals, one secretary,

the past 38 years, this dedicated Legal Aid team has

two private contract attorneys and volunteers provide

specialized in providing counsel and representation on

service to six counties along Missouri’s southwest bor-

issues of immigration, migrant services, economic devel-

der. The majority of cases handled by the Joplin office

opment, community development and housing.

involve victims of abuse seeking Orders of Protection, marriage dissolution, paternity, custody, visitation and

ST. JOSEPH

support orders. The staff also represents clients with

St. Joseph’s staff of ten, which includes six attor-

public benefits, landlord/tenant and consumer cases.

neys, three paralegals and one secretary, serve the

A HUD certified housing counselor serves clients facing

18-county area of northwest Missouri. The office repre-

foreclosure issues and seeking reverse mortgages.

sents clients in both rural and urban settings. Many of the cases involve family law, including marriage disso-

Many clients present problems beyond the immediate

lution, custody, guardianship and Orders of Protection.

legal issues that brought them to a Legal Aid office.

In addition, staff handles cases involving public ben-

Close partnerships with community agencies enable

efits, consumer law, landlord/tenant and foreclosure.

Legal Aid to help clients address these other issues. Since December 2000, the Joplin office has also operated

Community involvement plays a key role in the success

a legal clinic in the Carthage Community Clinic to provide

of the St. Joseph office. Staff members are active in a

outreach and intake services.

variety of organizations, committees and task forces that focus on specific issues facing clients, such as

Kansas City-Central office

homelessness, domestic violence, financial stability,

The Central office in downtown Kansas City maintains

and access to services for those in poverty. The staff

a staff of 34 full-time attorneys, one part-time attorney,

also makes presentations regularly at various locations

16 full-time paralegals, nine administrative staff and

throughout the service area on topics: landlord-ten-

eight full-time and two part-time clerical staff. This loca-

ant and public housing law, consumer law, legal pro-

tion serves clients living in the Kansas City metropolitan

tections for victims of domestic violence, foreclosure

community counties of Jackson, Clay and Platte.

prevention, and legal issues facing senior citizens. As a result, the office has made a broader impact on the cli-

The Central office is home to Legal Aid’s Municipal

ent community through increasing case referrals and

Court Defense Unit. The program is funded by a con-

improved community education.

tract with the City of Kansas City and provides representation to low-income clients charged with jailable offenses in the City’s municipal courts.

Warrensburg The Warrensburg office serves thirteen rural counties in west central Missouri. The staff consists of four full-

KANSAS CITY-West Office

time attorneys, three full-time paralegals, and one part-

Kansas City’s Westside community is served by Legal

time paralegal. The Warrensburg office handles cases

Aid’s bilingual staff located in the office on Southwest

primarily involving consumer law, housing, domestic

Boulevard. The staff includes six attorneys, four

violence, landlord/tenant cases, and public benefits

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

19


issues. The staff also maintains a strong presence in the

a contract (they are paid a reduced-rate hourly fee by

community and works directly with local agencies in

Legal Aid) or through the Volunteer Attorney Project

several counties. Staff members often make presenta-

(they donate their time to represent a Legal Aid client).

tions to local groups. To augment its limited resources, the Warrensburg office utilizes private attorneys in each county either through

richard & Sharon’s story Richard and Sharon Robinson*, both 60, have lived in

wrongdoing to the bankruptcy court and prevented

their home for over thirty years. Richard had recently

the eviction. The lender now faced the threat of litiga-

retired from a long career with an auto manufacturer

tion for wrongful foreclosure and agreed to deed the

and hoped to live on his moderate pension. However,

house back to the Robinsons. Another success for Legal

their mortgage with a sub-prime lender quickly esca-

Aid and justice for the Robinsons who were ecstatic to

lated due to an increasing adjustable rate. Sharon suf-

save their home from this predatory lender.

fered from a chronic illness so Richard was forced to return to the workforce. His previous employer was downsizing so he found work as a garbage collector. Richard rode on the back of a trash-truck everyday, a strenuous job at any age. Even with the additional income from this high-risk job, the mortgage was still unaffordable. The interest rate climbed to twice the market rate and the Robinsons fell two payments behind. To prevent losing their home, they made drastic sacrifices to bring the mortgage current. The lender accepted a wire-payment but fore-

“There are really no words that can adequately express our thanksgiving for all you and your staff have done on behalf of this household. We know that much time and effort were put into defending us (and) there are many others in similar situations…. Again, thank you.”

closed anyway and initiated a lawsuit to evict them. The Robinsons contacted Legal Aid for representation in the unlawful detainer trial, in which the court would

- Richard & Sharon Robinson

determine who had legal right to possession of their home. The Legal Aid attorney exposed the lender’s

*RESPECT FOR OUR CLIENTs’ CONFIDENTIALITY PREVENTS us from USING their REAL NAMEs.

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legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report


service area joplin office WORTH

ATCHISON

PUTNAM

MERCER

HARRISON

NODAWAY

kansas city office SULLIVAN

GENTRY GRUNDY

HOLT ANDREW

LINN

CALDWELL

LI VI NG ST O

N

DE KALB

BUCHANAN

St. Joseph office

DAVIESS

warrensburg office

CLINTON CARROLL

PLATTE CLAY

JACKSON

RAY

SALINE

LAFAYETTE

PETTIS

JOHNSON CASS

MORGAN

HENRY

BENTON

BATES

CAMDEN

ST. CLAIR

HICKORY

VERNON

BARTON

JASPER

NEWTON

McDONALD

Central Kansas City Office 1125 Grand Blvd, Suite 1900 Kansas City, MO 64106 816-474-6750

Joplin 302 South Joplin Joplin, MO 64801 417-782-1650/800-492-7095

WestSide Kansas City Office 920 Southwest Blvd. Kansas City, MO 64108 816-474-9868

St. Joseph 106 South 7th Street, 4th Floor St. Joseph, MO 64502 816-364-2325/800-892-2101

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

Warrensburg 305 North Holden PO Box 396 Warrensburg, MO 64093 660-747-7101/800-892-2943

21


donations & Pledges Legal Aid of Western Missouri extends its gratitude to the following firms and individuals who have made pledges or donations to Legal Aid in excess of $500. We are fortunate to have the generous support of such dedicated friends and many others who make our work possible.

Law Firms, Foundations & Corporations Three-year Pledges Or Donations of $50,000 & above Bryan Cave LLP (3-year pledge of $60,000) The Children of Beth and Ed Smith (3-year donation of $275,000) Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP (3-year pledge of $126,000) Lathrop & Gage Llp (3-year pledge of $75,000) Paul Shumaker Fund (3-year donation of $165,000) Polsinelli Shughart PC (3-year pledge of $141,000) Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. (3-year pledge of $216,000)

Donations of $1,000 & above Copilevitz & Canter, L.L.C. (3-year pledge of $1,200) Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC (3-year pledge of $2,700) Berkowitz Oliver Williams Shaw & Eisenbrandt LLP Drs. D. & M. Jarosewycz Memorial Charitable Gift Fund Mo-Kan Credit Counseling Agency St. Francis Xavier-Visitation Social Concerns Ministry Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian, P.C.

Three-year Pledges or donations of $15,000 & above or $500 per attorney Davis Bethune & Jones, L.L.C. (2-year pledge of $40,000) DST Systems, Inc. (3-year pledge of $15,000) Gilmore & Bell, P.C. (3-year pledge of $15,000) Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. (3-year pledge of $18,000) Seigfreid, Bingham, Levy, Selzer & Gee (3-year pledge of $25,650/$225 per Attorney) Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP (2-year pledge of $21,000) Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP (3-year pledge of $45,000) $500+ per attorney Hallmark Cards, Inc. Legal Department Bruce C. Houdek, P.C. Robb & Robb L.L.P. Three-year pledges or donations of $3,000 & above or $225 per attorney The Meyers Law Firm, L.C. (3-year pledge of $3,000) Slagle Bernard & Gorman, P.C. (3-year pledge of $4,500) Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP

22

$225+ per attorney Siro Law P.C. (3-year pledge of $1,500)

Individuals $5,000 & above Andrew & Karen See J. Michael Vaughan (3-year pledge of $7,500) $2,000 & above W. Russell & Deborah Welsh Judith & Kent Whittaker Peter & Eva Wilkin $1,000 & above Jack & Jeanne Bangert Galen Beaufort Karen Bissett & Rob Barnes Bernard E. Brown Leanne DeShong Daniel J. Devine & Michele Chollet Kathleen & Frank DiMaggio Kevin A. Dunn Susan J. Fershee (3-year pledge of $1,200) Charles & Jan German Suzanne Gladney & Alan Lubert Jessica Hembree Dawn Roe Johnson

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

Barry M. Katz Gregg F. Lombardi Benjamin Mann Marshall V. Miller P. John Owen John R. Phillips Michael J. Thompson $500 & above William L. Allinder & Mary Darrow Sawyer Aaron L. Aurand James R. Borthwick Mark Brennan Stephen P. Dees Mary Beth & Tom Denzer Willie Epps Carol F. Fowler Lawrence R. Hamel David N. Johnson C. Patrick McLarney Theresa Ann Otto B. John Readey, III Charles M. Rogers Douglas R. Rushing Neil S. Sader Eric Tanner Mark Andrew Thornhill Gene E. Voigts Robert C. Welch Donald C. Wengler

Every attempt has been made to reflect accurately and completely the names of our generous contributors. We apologize for any errors or omissions. Space does not permit the listing every contributor, but we value all our donors.


tributes Each year, we receive many heartfelt gifts in memory of loved ones and in honor of family, friends or special occasions. We are pleased and proud to be a part of these special tributes.

In honor of Aaron Aurand by Jack & Jeanne Bangert

In honor of Shawn Joyce by Shawn & Sara Joyce

In memory of Mary E. Aurand by Aaron L. Aurand

In honor of Jack Bangert by Laurie and Richard Van Auken

In honor of Gregg Lombardi by Jack & Jeanne Bangert

In honor of Gwen Brooks by Jack & Jeanne Bangert

In honor of C. Patrick McLarney by Hon. Richard B. Teitelman

In memory of Patrick O’Brien by Robert P. O’Brien & Brenna C. O’Brien

In honor of Jim & Beth Buckley by Jack & Jeanne Bangert

In honor of Tim Monsees by Christine Otto

In honor of Lajuana Counts by Jack & Jeanne Bangert

In honor of Richard & Laurie Van Auken by Jack & Jeanne Bangert

In honor of Leanne DeShong by Jack & Jeanne Bangert In honor of Lisa Gentleman & Arthur Hogg by Gregg F. Lombardi

In memory of Claire Ryan by Jack & Jeanne Bangert In memory of Stan Weiner by Robert Allan Lieberman

In honor of Joel & Marsha Voran by Jack & Jeanne Bangert In honor of Jerry Wolf by Jack & Jeanne Bangert

Dave’s story When Dave*, 19, was referred to Legal Aid’s Mental

diagnosed his condition and he received prescrip-

Health Court (MHC) Diversion program, he was in a

tions to help him function. He was closely monitored

dire situation. He suffered from devastating symptoms

to ensure that he stayed on his daily medications, was

of mental illness and had been arrested for assault-

tested for illegal substances, and reported to the MHC

ing family members. Although Dave was noticeably

judge for six months.

disturbed, his mental illness had not been clinically diagnosed. Subsequently, he was suspended from col-

With guidance from his attorney, Dave started a part-

lege and faced possible jail time. Legal Aid’s attorney

time job, reunited with his family, and was re-accepted

offered him the opportunity to divert his charges in

to college. He graduated from the MHC Diversion

Jackson County’s MHC. This program stipulated that he

Program by remaining medically compliant, drug-free,

be immediately assessed and treated for his probable

and not incurring any new charges. The court dis-

mental illness. That’s when his life began to change.

missed his assault case and the entire process took ten months. Dave’s story is a success not merely because

Dave received representation, counsel and advice from

the municipal charge was dropped, but because he

Legal Aid to assist him through the Mental Health Court

has a chance to lead a healthier, more productive life.

process. A court monitor from Swope Health Services *RESPECT FOR OUR CLIENT’S CONFIDENTIALITY PREVENTS us from USING His REAL NAME.

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

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2009 revenue

financials

Federal Legal Services Corporation - General............................................................................................................... 1,893,515 Legal Services Corporation - Migrant..................................................................................................................... 86,865 Missouri Department of Social Services - MC + Ombudsman................................................................. 250,000 U.S. Department of HUD - Housing Counseling................................................................................................... 93,136 Missouri Department of Public Safety - Violence Against Women Act............................................ 83,862 City of Kansas City - Neighborhood Attorney (CDBG Funding).............................................................. 80,009 Mid-America Regional Council - Area Agency on Aging - Legal Services........................................ 45,000 Internal Revenue Service Low Income Taxpayer Clinic................................................................................. 38,953 Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc. - Legal Assistance for Victims.......................................... 34,500 West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.............................................................................................................................. 34,187 Missouri Department of Public Safety - Victims of Crime Act................................................................. 33,295 Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund - Bureau of Justice Assistance.................. 28,182 Missouri Dept of Public Safety - Violence Against Women Act - Recovery Act........................... 21,802 United Services Community Action Agency ........................................................................................................ 16,083 Kansas Legal Services - Migrant Subgrant.......................................................................................................... 12,675 Mid-America Regional Council - Area Agency on Aging National Caregiver Support Program..................................................................................................................... 11,311 Northwest Missouri Area Agency on Aging........................................................................................................ 10,000 Care Connection for Aging Services - Area Agency on Aging.................................................................. 5,480 City of St. Joseph - Emergency Shelter Grant........................................................................................................ 4,726 VantAge Point Area Agency on Aging......................................................................................................................... 3,071 sub-total................................................................................................................................................................................. 2,786,652 City, County & State................................................................................................................................................... 2,494,490.00 United Ways (includes donor designation...................................................................................................... 436,889

2009 expenses Personnel Costs Salary - Clerical ...........................................................376,762 Salary - Attorney ..................................................... 2,809,766 Salary - Paralegal . .....................................................981,486 Salary - Administration ..........................................579,964 FICA Tax Expense .............................................................350,453 Health Insurance .........................................................727,875 Disability Insurance . ................................................... 44,669 Workers Compensation ............................................. 15,017 Unemployment Insurance . .........................................1,232 Retirement Contribution . ......................................434,391 Retirement Plan Administration . ....................... 13,449 sub-total ........................................................................ 6,335,064 Non-Personnel Costs Audit ........................................................................................ 24,500 Data Processing .............................................................. 12,621 Travel . .................................................................................... 80,052 Rent ........................................................................................418,578 Utilities .....................................................................................5,648 Janitorial . ..............................................................................3,120 Office Supplies . ................................................................ 71,387 Printing ................................................................................. 45,672 Postage .................................................................................. 55,731

Other Public Funding I.O.L.T.A. (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts) ...................................................................................................520,569

Equipment Purchase and Lease . .......................... 70,584

Foundations, Churches and Other Organizations Truman Medical Center, Inc. - Medicaid Appeals Project . .......................................................................691,300 Health Care Fdn of Greater Kansas City - Children’s Mercy Hospital ............................................256,500 Health Care Fdn of Greater Kansas City - Migrant Advocate . ...............................................................75,000 Swope Community Builders .............................................................................................................................................60,968 Health Care Fdn of Greater Kansas City - Mental Health Court ..........................................................55,100 Paul Shumaker Fund .............................................................................................................................................................40,000 Hall Family Foundation .....................................................................................................................................................30,000 Greater KC LINC, Inc. . ..............................................................................................................................................................23,623 Boston Medical Center - Gould Foundation ......................................................................................................17,500 The Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City ...........................................................................................17,000 North Kansas City Hospital .............................................................................................................................................10,211 Swope Health Services ............................................................................................................................................................8,330 American College of Bankruptcy & American College of Bankruptcy Foundation ....................................................................................................5,000 United Methodist Mexican American Ministries . ................................................................................................2,400 United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries ..............................................................................2,000 Visitation Catholic Church - Social Concerns Ministry ................................................................................1,000 Inter-Faith Community Services, Inc. ...............................................................................................................................975 Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City . ................................................................................................................................750 sub-total ...............................................................................................................................................................................$1,297,657

Law Library ......................................................................... 93,978

Equipment Maintenance . .......................................... 38,787 Equipment Rental ........................................................... 19,957 Malpractice Insurance . ............................................ 21,752 Liability Insurance ...........................................................9,515 Telephone and Communication . ......................... 83,826 Dues and Fees .................................................................... 28,649 Training . ............................................................................... 60,761 Litigation . ...............................................................................3,905 Miscellaneous . ..............................................................137,750 Contract Services to Program ..........................179,916 Contract Services to Clients . ............................... 85,267 sub-total ........................................................................ 1,551,956 TOTAL EXPENSES ................................................ $7,887,020

Other Fundraising (individuals, corporations, foundations) . .........................................................................639,149 (Fundraising does not include United Way donor designations) Cy-Pres Awards . ........................................................................................................................................................................86,639 Miscellaneous . .................................................................................................................................................................312,275.00 sub-total ..............................................................................................................................................................................$1,138,063 TOTAL REVENUE . ..................................................................................................................................................................... 8,674,320 LESS CONTRIBUTIONS / TRANSFERS INTO ENDOWMENT FUND .........................................................................(359,571) REVENUE AVAILABLE FOR OPERATIONS ................................................................................................... $8,314,749

24

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

“As a person not used to asking for a free anything, I appreciate all the advice and help I received.”

-Donna


maureen’s story Benjamin*, 18, Has cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. His mother, Maureen*, has been The sole caregiver for his entire life. She contacted Legal Aid’s Warrensburg office after His 18th birthday. Maureen needed help because she was no longer able to take him to the doctor or handle important matters on his behalf since he was legally considered an adult.

A Legal Aid attorney represented her to file for guardianship. The attorney also contacted Benjamin’s healthcare providers to compile evidence demonstrating a significant need for the guardian appointment. At the hearing, the attorney argued that Benjamin required a guardian and Maureen was the best person for this responsibility. The Judge Agreed. Maureen became Benjamin’s guardian and is able to maintain the critical medical care he needs.

*RESPECT FOR OUR CLIENTS’ CONFIDENTIALITY PREVENTS us from USING their REAL NAMEs.

legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

25


legal aid of western missouri 2009 annual report

Without Missouri’s legal aid programs, thousands of low-income Missourians each year would not have access to the courts. The programs handle Protective Order cases and Medicaid and SSI appeals in which the clients desperately need representation, when no other lawyers will take those cases. The Legal Aid attorneys not only give their clients access to the justice system, they make the system work more effectively. The Honorable William Ray Price, Jr. Chief Justice, The Supreme Court of Missouri

Legal Aid is an excellent partner in solving the long-term problems of our low-income clients. Whenever we have a client who has a legal problem — whether they have landlord tenant issues, need assistance getting on to SSI or any other legal help — we know that when we refer them to Legal Aid they will get the help they need. John Joines, CEO Economic Security Corporation, Joplin

Funding Legal Aid’s work has been an excellent investment for our foundation. They have innovative projects and consistently get high quality results. We’ve had a number of grants with them where they have been able to use creative problem-solving to turn a dollar of funding into many dollars of medical care for their clients. Steve Roling, President/CEO Health are Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Central Office 1125 Grand Blvd, Ste 1900 Kansas City, MO 64106 816-474-6750

St. Joseph 106 South 7th St, 4th Floor St. Joseph, MO 64502 816-364-2325/800-892-2101

Joplin 302 South Joplin Joplin, MO 64801 417-782-1650/800-492-7095

Warrensburg 305 North Holden Warrensburg, MO 64093 660-747-7101/800-892-2943

West Office 920 Southwest Blvd Kansas City, MO 64108 816-474-9868


Legal Aid of Western Missouri 2009 Annual Report