Legal Aid has a number of projects designed to assist low income, working low income and other vulnerable individuals. Many of these projects are funded through grants or partnerships with other agencies.
For additional information about QUALIFICATIONS
This website is designed to provide general information and should not
be utilized as a substitute for professional legal advice.
LEGAL ADVOCACY FOR FAMILIES & CHILDREN is intended
to help children less than 18 years of age and their families/caregivers
living in Hawai`i who are experiencing family dysfunction and who require
legal assistance to ensure safety, stability, and economic self-sufficiency.
The Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i aims to assist children and families to stabilize situations such as households where there is domestic violence and child abuse by providing a number of civil legal services to them including, but not limited to, child custody, housing, consumer debt, employment, public benefits issues and other child services issues such as education, teen pregnancy, and runaway children. By reducing the stressors that negatively affect efforts to support and promote family reunification, Legal Aid will help foster a household environment that is safe for children and self-sufficient.
For more information, contact the Hotline
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m
Lauren U. Van Buren, Esq., Staff Attorney
The AFFORDABLE LAWYERS PROJECT is a project of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii that offers quality legal services at a discounted rate to income-qualified individuals whose income is too high to qualify for free Legal Aid services.
DOWNLOAD A BROCHURE FOR AFFORDABLE LAWYERS
Services provided by AFFORDABLE LAWYERS include:
Child Custody Modifications
Child Support Modifications
Consent Adoptions, Consent Guardianships
Powers of Attorneys
Advance Health Care Directives
Most services are provided for a low flat rate. For example, an uncontested divorce without children costs $400, plus the $175 court filing fee. Attorney time is billed at $100 per hour and $50 per hour for paralegal time for contested matters. A person may apply for our services by calling our intake hotline during regular business hours from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:00 pm to 4:30: 536-4302 on Oahu and 1-800-499-4302 on Neighbor Islands.
HOW DO I APPLY?
To apply for services from the Affordable Lawyers Project,
please call intake: 536-4302 on Oahu,
or 1-800-499-4302 ext. 227
on the Neighbor Islands and leave a message.
Please leave your full name, household size, gross monthly
income, type of legal problem, name of the opposing party, and contact
information when you call. Our friendly staff will return your call within
two to three (2-3) business days.
You may also e-mail our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your phone number or other contact information in your e-mail.
Angela Lovitt, Esq., AmeriCorps Program Director
AmeriCorps is a national service program patterned after the Peace Corps with the goal if increasing community based volunteerism. Members of Legal Aid’s AmeriCorps Project Laulima are placed at various legal service and social service agencies across the state. The goal of the project is to provide holistic services to low income clients and to strengthen the connection between low income legal and social service providers.
Full-time and part-time members strive to improve the
access of low-income individuals to legal, social, and economic justice
in the community. Since its birth in 1997, members in our project have:
Assisted over 33,000 low-income with advice or referral on their civil matter;
Created over 350 self-help materials to instruct users on their legal rights;
Distributed over 60,000 self-help brochures to low-income individuals;
Assisted over 4,200 individuals in 1,241 self-help clinics and workshops.
To download the AmeriCorps Project Laulima Brochure
Angela Lovitt, Esq., Director of Training & Special Projects
Brown Bags is a community project sponsored by the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i. The goal of our Brown Bags Seminars is to provide periodic forums that educate both social service advocates and those in the legal community on various legal and social service topics affecting Hawai`i’s low-income community. Brown Bags also endeavors to build closer relationships between legal service providers and non-profit agencies that assist low-income clients.
HOW DO I SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE?
To participate in Legal Aid’s Brown Bag seminars, or for more information, please contact Elise by telephone at 808-527-8056, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Opened in November 1998, the CENTER FOR EQUAL JUSTICE
(CEJ) is a one-stop shop for justice that strives to empower unrepresented
court users to resolve their legal issues on their own.
Legal Aid's CEJ is Hawaii's first self-help legal center. The CEJ has 4 main components:
1) Provides brief legal servies to eligible low- to moderate-income individuals and families in the areas of FAMILY LAW, HOUSING LAW, PUBLIC BENEFITS and CONSUMER LAW;
2) Provides the use of our facilities to those not eligible for Legal Aid, so that they may resolve legal issues on their own. These facilities include: computers, printers, typewriters, a legal library, a copy machine, telephones and a work area.
3) Publishes brochures and self-help packets on family, housing public benefits, and consumer legal issues; and
4) Offers 24-hour recorded scripts on legal issues.
CEJ SELF-HELP HOURS:
MONDAY - FRIDAY
9:00am to 11:30am
924 Bethel Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
3016 Umi Street, Ste. 220
Lihue, HI 96766
To download the CEJ Brochure
The Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i received a grant from
the Hawai`i Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide legal services
to domestic violence victims.
Through this grant, Legal Aid provides legal services to victims who are receiving cash welfare benefits and are exempt from the welfare work requirement because of the violence in their lives. These legal services may be related to the abuse, but need not be.
Download our DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ADVOCACY BROCHURE
NOTE TO TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES
To determine if you are eligible for the Domestic Violence Status (DVS), contact your DHS worker today.
Child & Family Services (CFS) also works closely with Legal Aid and DHS to assess and assist with the clients’ non-legal, social service needs.
When a household is receiving the DVE from DHS, the household is eligible for FREE legal services from Legal Aid. In addition, to free legal services, for a period of 6 months, the exemption relieves the household from:
- the 5 year time limit,
- the 20% grant reduction, and
- the work requirements of the First-to-Work program
Individuals and families NOT receiving TANF funds (below) may receive our services upon qualification.
To see if you qualify for SERVICES
Chelsey Stewart, Fair Housing Investigation Coordinator
FAIR HOUSING ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM (FHEP). Fair housing
laws prohibit discrimination in the rental sale, finance, or insurance
of housing based upon certain protected categories. Protected categories
include race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability,
marital status, family status, and HIV infection. Funded by a grant from
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Fair Housing
Enforcement Program (FHEP) aims to enforce fair housing laws by determining
whether housing providers (landlords, lenders, sellers, etc.) are discriminating
This program offers statewide services to victims of housing discrimination, regardless of their income or assets. If you believe that you are a victim of ILLEGAL HOUSING DISCRIMINATION, please CONTACT US at:
808-527-8017 on Oahu or
1-866-527-FAIR (3247) on the Neighbor Islands.
For additional information about FAIR HOUSING LAW
The FAMILY COURTHOUSE ASSISTANCE PROJECT (Family CAP)
is a collaborative project between the Family Court of the First Circuit
and the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i.
Every Wednesday a Legal Aid attorney works at Family Court in Kapolei to provide legal assistance to eligible, unrepresented court users. Services can include immediate counsel & advice, assistance drafting court orders and forms, assistance calculating child support, and help negotiating with the other party.
Family CAP is staffed at the following location and time:
Kapolei Circuit Court
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Through a contract with the Hawai`i State Judiciary, Legal
Aid advocates are appointed as guardians ad litem (GALs) in Child Protective
Services (CPS) cases.
GALs represent children who have been abused or neglected by advocating for the children’s best interest. GALs visit the children, conduct investigations, report to the court, and attend all hearings on behalf of the children.
Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD), this project provides holistic legal services
to homeless individuals and families.
Providing holistic services to homeless persons during their transition from homelessness to independent living is crucial. This project focuses on four major areas:
1) Getting and keeping a steady source of income
2) Getting and keeping shelter
3) Protecting personal safety
4) Improving personal and family relationships
To qualify for legal services under the HOMELESS PROGRAM, an individual or family must:
a) Live on the streets, in a park, on the beach, or
in a place not usually meant for human habitation;
b) Live in an emergency or transitional shelter;
c) Live in a domestic violence shelter and not be able to immediately return home;
d) Have an eviction pending in Court; OR
e) Be discharged from an institution and have no place to go
In addition to Legal Aid’s Intake Hotline, individuals who are homeless may receive services at any of the following locations and times:
Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center
86-260 Farrington Hwy
Every Friday from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Waimanalo Health Center
41-1347 Kalanianaole Hwy
Every Thursday from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Institute for Human Services – Women’s Shelter
546 Kaaahi Street
Every Wednesday from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Onemalu at Barber’s Point Transitional Housing
Every other Tuesday from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
and by appointment (residents only).
Catholic Charities Maililand Transitional Shelter
Every other Tuesday from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
and by appointment (residents only).
This project addresses the legal and
financial issues facing renters, home buyers, and homeowners defaulting
on their mortgages, regardless of their income and assets.
Services provided through the HUD Housing Counseling Program are broken down into 4 main categories:
1) Renter’s Assistance, 2) Homeownership Counseling & Pre-purchase Issues, 3) Default & Foreclosure, 4) Predatory Lending Scams, and 5) Reverse Mortgages
1) THE RENTER'S ASSISTANCE PROGRAM - provides renters with a broad range of legal assistance (from advice only to full representation) about tenants’ legal rights and responsibilities.
2) THE HOMEOWNERSHIP COUNSELING & PRE-PURCHASE ISSUES - provides basic pre-purchase counseling or default counseling coupled with negotiation assistance with lenders when necessary. Pre-purchase counseling prepares individuals for home ownership by assisting them in qualifying for a home loan and educating them on home ownership issues. Post-purchase counseling may include advice and counsel on reverse mortgages, foreclosure, prevention of foreclosure, forbearance, repayment plans, bankruptcy, and other possible remedies. Services may also include negotiation on behalf of individuals who have disabilities or who face other obstacles preventing them from handling negotiations on their own.
3) DEFAULT & FORECLOSURE - Default and Foreclosure counseling provides clients who are in default or in the foreclosure process with individualized assistance in analysis of each client’s situation, status of delinquency, amount delinquent, past and current financial situations, expected future financial situation, goals and realistic goals. Advice is provided on client’s loss mitigation options, how to proceed in terms of the option they choose, and consequences that may follow. In some cases additional assistance is provided by contactin their lenders, assisting with workout packages, assisting with writing letters on their behalf, referrals to private attorneys, and various other services to help clients achieve their goals.
4) PREDATORY LENDING SCAMS - Predatory lending counseling provides clients with a comprehensive review of loan documents whenever possible if predatory lending is suspected. As appropriate for each individual case, the clients are assisted in negotiations with the lender to restructure the loan, assist in facilitating refinancing, and/or refer the case to legal staff or a private attorney for legal representation. Finally, individuals may receive counseling to determine if loans they are considering are predatory.
5) REVERSE MORTGAGES - Reverse Mortgage Counseling provides clients with individual counseling either in our office through home visits when necessary. Clients are given information and were counseled about the various aspects of the reverse mortgage, other options that may be available to them, and the consequences of a reverse mortgage. Upon completion of the counseling, a certificate of HECM counseling is provided allowing clients to go forward with reverse mortgage financing.
To speak with an advocate about a housing issue, call:
This project aims to serve children who may qualify
for social security disability benefits. Through the project, Legal
Aid partners with the Department of Human Services to assist children
receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and consists of two components:
(1) Services include representation starting at the initial SSI application stage through the hearing stage if and when appropriate. DHS is referring children who are not eligible for Title IVE status to Legal Aid to receive these services.
(2) Outreach to disabled children and families with disabled children who may qualify for disability benefits. Information regarding this resource for low-income and disabled children is sparse. Legal Aid believes that spreading information and assisting with the social security disability application process will benefit many of Hawai`i’s children and families.
Children must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for social security benefits.
Kids' Supplemental Security Program Brochure
Foster Kids' Supplemental Security Program Brochure
The LOW-INCOME TAXPAYER CLINIC (LITC)
represents low-income taxpayers involved in controversies with the IRS,
and provides education and outreach on the taxpayer rights and responsibilities
of U.S. taxpayers to individuals who speak English as a second language
The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii provides legal representation, education, and outreach services for free. The LITC is funded in part by the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service LITC Grant.
To download the LOW-INCOME TAX Brochure
BIG ISLAND & MAUI ONLY - Funded by the Office on Aging, the TITLE III SENIOR PROGRAM'S overall goal is to provide legal advice, counseling, and representation to Maui and Hawaii County seniors regardless of their income or assets. Some common services include assistance with simple wills, housing, medicare, durable powers of attorney, advance health care directives, medicaid, adoptions, divorce, and many other standard services.
A joint project between the State of Hawai`i Department
of Human Services (DHS) and the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i, the Social
Security Advocacy Project helps disabled and elderly individuals who
are receiving cash assistance from DHS to apply for and/or appeal their
claim for SSI and Social Security benefits. You may be eligible for
assistance through this project if you are receiving benefits from the
* Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD)
* General Assistance (GA)
* Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)
* Temporary Aid to Other Needy Families (TAONF)
Through a contract with the Trustees of the Hawai`i
Teamsters and Allied Workers, some employees of Local 996 Teamsters
/Allied Workers companies are eligible for legal services.
Under this legal services plan, Legal Aid staff provide eligible employees and their dependents with legal advice and consultation, or brief legal assistance in the areas of family, consumer, public benefits, traffic, misdemeanor, and housing law, and more. The union plan covers a variety of different legal issues.
If you are a Local 996 union member and would like more information on the union plan’s services, or your particular legal issue(s), please contact Lauren U. Van Buren at 808-527-8005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not all Local 996 members are eligible for these services, only those whose companies are participating in the legal services plan.