When Kendra came to Legal Aid, she was staying at an area women’s shelter to escape from an abusive boyfriend who had convinced her they were common law married in Texas. She met with an attorney who, after discussing the facts of the relationship with Kendra, determined that the couple would not be considered married under Texas law. Kendra was relieved. She had dreams of going back to school and getting a degree to work in the healthcare field, dreams her boyfriend tried to squelch. Kendra already had started the process of registering for classes, and the news that she was free to do so without being tied to an unsupportive “husband” further motivated her to move forward toward her goal.
During the conversation with the Legal Aid attorney, it came out that Kendra was unable to legally drive because she had unpaid surcharges and her license was suspended. The attorney looked into the matter and discovered that Kendra’s surcharges, totaling more than $5,800, were eligible for the State’s surcharge reduction program. Meanwhile, Kendra found a place to live and was seeking part-time employment to augment the student loans she received to attend school. With Legal Aid’s help, Kendra applied for a surcharge reduction under a special program intended for people in her situation. In a short time, Kendra received word that all of her surcharges had been dismissed, meaning that she only had to pay the state registration fee to recover her license. Now saving to buy a car and insurance, Kendra expects to complete her degree this year. Her Legal Aid attorney says, “Kendra is a hard-working person who is committed to improving herself and her living situation. I have no doubt that she will reach her goals.”
Community Revitalization Project
Opens New Location in Dallas
The newest office for the Community Revitalization Project (CRP), a program of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (Legal Aid), opened its doors this month. Located on Zang Boulevard in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood, the newest location of the CRP serves communities in and around South and West Dallas, and houses four attorneys and several support staff members.
CRP, with offices in Amarillo, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Lubbock, empowers communities by providing free legal services, advocacy, and education throughout North and West Texas. CRP provides free legal services, advocacy, and community education to individuals, community groups, and nonprofit organizations on issues including affordable and fair housing, environmental justice, and community development. Its partnerships include the Inclusive Communities Project, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, and Disability Rights Texas. CRP attorneys also co-counsel with faculty at the University of Texas Environmental and Community Development Clinics as well as attorneys with Lone Star Legal Aid and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.