Legal Aid Society of Orange County provides free legal services

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Going to court can be a daunting and expensive process. For many, getting the help or services they need means taking your case to a judge, and that’s where our WESH 2 Community Champion comes in. The Orange County Legal Aid Society is a free service for those who cannot afford a traditional lawyer. They help with everything from family law to housing issues. It was never even a question for Andrea Elmellouki. A few months after encouraging King, Carter and Elijah, the adoptive mother and her husband fell in love. “Unfortunately their mother was not able to do enough to get them back, so they went for adoption and we adopted them,” Elmellouki said. The immediate connection was undeniable. Elijah, he’s four, he just turned four yesterday,” Elmellouki said. “This is Carter, he turned five today.” “And then we have King, who’s seven. He’s in first grade,” Elmellouki said. “He likes Japanese animation and drawing.” “Do you want some candy? Oh my God. Yeah, it’s your birthday. since its official adoption, a journey that the Legal Aid Society of Orange County has helped navigate from start to finish.Founded in the early 1960s, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County provides free legal services to those who fall at 125% of the federal poverty guidelines and below.While they were in the foster care system, the organization regularly checked on King, Carter and Elijah – even stepping in to help when Carter needed occupational therapy. addiction cases are not their only focus. Housing cases have taken center stage as COVID-19 crippled parts of the economy. Executive Director Bethanie Barber said the organization has launched a clinic as a virtual housing and counseling response, led by staff and volunteer attorneys from the Orange County Bar Association. The office itself has 50 full-time employees, but approximately 1,600 to 2,000 volunteer Orange County attorneys volunteer their time to help the organization serve the community as well. It’s a powerful goal, driven by the needs of the community and the need for legal help never stops. The rewards make the long hours all the more rewarding. “When you help children who have never had a permanent home to have a permanent home, when you help a veteran to pay off his debts, when you help an elderly person to have stable housing, there’s nothing better in the world,” Barber said. “And that’s what we do every day,” Barber said. Many counties in Florida have their own legal aid society to provide pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford it. We have the links to them on the Community Champions page. our community. Do you know someone who should be a WESH 2 Community Champion? Name it on our website or email us at [email protected]

Going to court can be a daunting and expensive process.

For many, getting the help or services they need means taking their case to a judge, and that’s where our WESH 2 Community Champion comes in.

The Orange County Legal Aid Society is a free service for those who cannot afford a traditional attorney.

They help with everything from family law to housing issues.

It was never even a question for Andrea Elmellouki.

A few months after welcoming King, Carter and Elijah, the longtime adoptive mother and her husband fell in love.

“Unfortunately their mother was not able to do enough to get them back, so they went for adoption and we adopted them,” Elmellouki said.

The immediate connection was undeniable.

“Elijah, he’s four, he just turned four yesterday,” Elmellouki said. “This is Carter, he turned five today.”

“And then we have King, who’s seven. He’s in first grade,” Elmellouki said. “He loves Japanese animation and drawing.”

“Do you want some candy? Oh my God. Yeah, it’s your birthday. We’ll have some candy in a bit, ok,” Elmellouki told Carter.

This is Carter’s fourth year celebrating his birthday at this home and the first since he was officially adopted, a journey that the Legal Aid Society of Orange County has helped navigate from start to finish.

Established in the early 1960s, the Orange County Legal Aid Society provides free legal services to those at 125% of the federal poverty guidelines and below.

While in the foster care system, the organization regularly checked on King, Carter, and Elijah—even stepping in to help when Carter needed occupational therapy.

Addiction cases are not their only focus.

Housing cases took center stage when COVID-19 crippled parts of the economy.

Executive Director Bethanie Barber said the organization has launched a virtual housing and counseling clinic in response, led by volunteer staff and attorneys from the Orange County Bar Association.

Barber says family law cases, consumer law cases and immigration cases also keep them busy around the clock.

The office itself has 50 full-time employees, but approximately 1,600 to 2,000 volunteer Orange County attorneys volunteer their time to help the organization serve the community as well.

This is a powerful goal, driven by the needs of the community and the need for legal help never stops.

The rewards make the long hours all the more rewarding.

“When you help children who have never had a permanent home to have a permanent home, when you help a veteran to pay off his debts, when you help an elderly person to have stable housing, there’s nothing better in the world,” Barber said.

“And that’s what we do every day,” Barber said.

Many counties in Florida have their own legal aid society to provide pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford it.

We have the links to them on the CommUNITY Champions page.

Year-round, we spotlight individuals and groups who work to help uplift our community.

Do you know someone who should be a WESH 2 Community Champion?

Name them on our website or email us at [email protected]

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