As a Board member, I believe the impact that the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has in the community is needed and very important to those that are very vulnerable in our society. Legal Aid has helped so many people including myself. Their assistance is greatly appreciated by all those who don't understand and are desperately seeking help and answers during tough times.
I would like others to know that whenever you're in doubt or don't understand the laws about renter's rights, family abuse, citizenship, divorce, custody, disability or simply needing assistance to fill out necessary court documents, don't ever feel ashamed or afraid to contact Legal Aid.
The best decision that I've ever made was to take that first step, calling Legal Aid for assistance when I needed it most. Legal Aid staff helped me and guided me in the right direction.
Mahalo, Legal Aid for all you do!
- Loel-Anjanette Kaikuaana, Board Member, 6 years of service
In 2016, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii’s fair housing enforcement program uncovered that a private student housing provider was unfairly discriminating against families with children.
“We found through our testing that families with children were being turned away from Savio’s student housing. The settlement, after litigation in which we joined in a case by the Department of Justice, resulted in a very progressive family policy for relating to families in private student housing organizations that was much stronger than anyone was able to obtain in a settlement elsewhere in the country,” said Dan O’Meara, managing attorney for consumer and housing unit and director of Legal Aid’s Fair Housing enforcement program.
Around the country, families with children in private student housing would generally not be charged extra for children ages 2 years old or under. If the child is older than 2 years old, he/she would be charged as an additional person living in the unit.
“When others settled, they settled for policies that limit the age at 2 years old or maybe 4 years old. We were able to negotiate that a parent with a minor child, up to age 17, would not be charged extra for that child to live in the unit,” said O’Meara. This is all part of our efforts to address the needs for family housing in our community, in all circumstances.
READ THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PRESS RELEASE
Board spotlight: Aldora kahele
When people need help, it is so important to know that the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i is there. As a volunteer teacher's aide at an elementary school, I was recently invited to attend a parent get together because the organizer knew that I served on the Board for the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i.
Many of the families who attended the meeting came from Mayor Wright Homes, and needed to get legal information to address a variety of issues. I was able to help them as far as making that connection to Legal Aid and the services we provide in family, housing, public benefits, and citizenship.
Many of these parents brought their children to the meeting, to help them with accessing technology, too. They would say, “Aunty, my mom and dad don’t know how to use the computer.”
It was a good opportunity for me as a TA in STEM to teach the children, so they could help their parents navigate their way through online portals and forms. They’re really grateful when they see that I can help be a bridge and connect them to Legal Aid – they feel comfortable asking me, and then they come back and say, “Thank you, Aunty, for sharing Legal Aid with us! They helped!” That’s what life is about is… helping each other!
-Aldora Kahele, Board Member, 4 years of service