Interagency Council updated on legal services
by By DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Apr 21, 2013 | 651 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Representatives from Legal Aid of East Tennessee and the Erlanger Health Law Partnership updated Bradley County Interagency Council members on available free legal services.

EHLP is a partnership between the Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga and Legal Aid of East Tennessee.

Emily Lay, LAET attorney, said the partnership was set up to provide legal aid for patients during their stay at the hospital.

“Sometimes there are health issues which come up that can have legal solutions,” Lay said. “There are about 100 [medical-legal partnerships] across the nation. Ours at Erlanger is the only one in Southeast Tennessee.”

The partnership provides better care for patients’ health, according to an EHLP pamphlet.

“By placing a poverty law attorney from LAET directly into Erlanger’s main location on the Baroness campus, EHLP aims to help patients with issues such as substandard housing, lack of access to public support programs and family violence,” according to the pamphlet.

Additional issues EHLP offers legal aid for include public benefits, such as food stamps; domestic violence; housing; education; employment, such as the Family Medical Leave Act; consumer; power of attorney; and advanced directives.

“We are very excited about the program. We do everything Legal Aid does,” Lay said. “Any civil legal issue from landlord-tenant to guardianship, like if grandparents need assistance in establishing guardianship, to any advanced directives or public benefits.”

Case acceptance strategies have been made to determine who qualifies for LAET help.

Federal poverty guidelines are used to measure a potential client’s poverty level. Exceptions are made for victims of domestic violence and senior adults. Funding source permissions have been secured to meet the needs of these two parties regardless of economic sustainability.

An interagency member proposed a scenario to Lay.

“A lot of our landlords who have rental property do not provide fire detectors in their rental property. I understand they are supposed to provide those items, but our families are afraid to say anything to them in fear of getting kicked out,” the interagency member continued.

“Is there anything legal aid can do to assist?”

Lay responded, “Yes, we can assist them. We can contact the landlord. They cannot evict their tenants in retaliation.”

Brian Fry, LAET attorney, gave a rundown of various services offered by the organization.

“The Chattanooga office now serves all 10 counties, because we do not have an office in Cleveland any longer,” Fry said. “We do come twice a month to The Refuge. We also have appointment schedules for seniors.”

He said the organization can offer legal advice, with the possibility of further help, on a variety of issues.

These include self-representation in general sessions court, unemployment checks, food stamps, bankruptcy, foreclosure, incessant bill collectors, custody rights, health information, housing information and income information, among others.

For more information contact Legal Aid at 423-756-4013, EHLP at 423-778-7807 or visit

Additional items discussed included:

n Bradley Memorial Health Endowment Fund grant meeting will meet on Wednesday, May 15, at 10 a.m. in the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library. Brief proposals will be due Friday, May 31.

n The next Interagency meeting will be held Monday, May 20, at the Bradley County Health Department.