When someone faces an issue with the IRS, Dee Dee says, “The first thing we have to do is get them in filing compliance so they can access some of the programs that the IRS has to deal with what you owe.” Ultimately, the cost of not resolving these issues can be very high. “Sometimes we’ve found out when someone owed and then didn’t file for years, it was actually erroneous and by not filing they didn’t get refunds that they could have gotten.”
Ultimately, Lisa was surprised by how much she learned, although originally she was hesitant to participate in the Building Wealth program. She says, “I felt like I had a lot of advantages that I had squandered and here I am in this situation.” She admits to feeling ashamed of needing help in the first place, but acknowledges her delays in seeking assistance only made her financial recovery that much harder. “The sooner you realize you are about to go off that cliff, you should pick up the phone and call. If you think it’s hard now, it does get worse,” she says. “If you can head it off at the pass, it makes it easier.”
What we fear determines what we worship—worship being what we actually do with our thoughts and emotions and body. If I fear being alone, I will do everything in my power to make sure I have companionship. If I fear not having enough money, I will do whatever it takes to make sure I get and keep all that I can. If I fear what people think of me, then I will do whatever it takes to manage my image. We are fearful-beings; we will fear something. The Bible simply tells us to fear God, the only Being worthy of our fear.
March was an extremely busy for the Clinic! We were blessed with the chance to compete in Brackets For Good again, and because of our amazing supporters, we were able to raise nearly $20,000 in just two weeks for free legal services for our low-income neighbors! Additionally, we learned more about the importance of donations and how the Clinic seeks and utilizes these very necessary funds.
For this reason, one of the things that Crystal most cherishes about her position is the opportunity to minister to those who are in crisis. “It’s a very interesting dynamic working at the Clinic,” she says. “Having the liberty to share my faith…is just a lot different than what it had been in corporate America.” She loves being able to pray for those who want prayer. And when there is relief to be had for one of her clients, the joy is immense. But even when there are no remedies, apart from letting the home go, there are still positives. She says, “I’m honest with the client. I tell them, ‘I’m here to have a real conversation with you.’ It’s not about sugar-coating it.” And sometimes, these honest, yet difficult conversations are the most important thing Crystal can give to a client.
A pivotal element of HYJP is the Program Manager, Ben Hayes. Unlike the two attorneys who work cases for Outreach’s youth, Ben’s position is more nebulous. His job is to build relationships and to create a bridge between their kids and our attorneys. Most of the youth that go through Outreach know what it’s like to be burned by someone they were supposed to be able to trust—in fact, that is usually an inciting incident to them becoming homeless in the first place. “Every one of them is going to have a different story,” Ben says. The one thing they all have in common though? Trauma. According to a series of internal surveys conducted by Outreach in 2014, 71% of their young woman said they were sexually abused before the age of 18 and 88% of their young men saw their mother beaten before the age of 18.
A recent shift in donors has been especially encouraging to the Engagement Team. Maggie says, “2014 was the first year that we really had a surge in first-time donors who used to be clients … Now that they’re not clients anymore, they want to give back to people who are in their positions, which has been incredibly moving for us. We have clients sending in one dollar or five dollars—just whatever they can spare.”
What is Justice? Who has access to it? What are the community-wide financial and emotional repercussions when Justice is not served?
Join host Ashley Caveda as she discusses these questions, the Clinic’s most memorable clients, and more with current Executive Director Chris Purnell and founder and former Executive Director Abby Kuzma.
We’ve got some exciting things coming up for the rest of Brackets for Good and for the month of March. Be sure to check in with the blog next week when we release the first episode of the Clinic’s new podcast, Courting Justice! If you have legal questions or thoughts on things you’d like to learn more about, please follow us on Twitter @NCLegalClinic and use the hashtag #CourtingJustice to send us your comments and questions!
Isaac and Ashley get pumped up for #BFG16 by shooting some Justice Hoops! For Round 1, we’re matched up against Fight For Life Foundation. This round ends at 8PM on Friday, March 4th. Please help us advance to Round 2 by donating now: https://indianapolis.bfg.org/matches/615
For all the latest tourney updates, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @NCLegalClinic