Foundation supports legal aid

Published 8:43 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Virginia Legal Aid Society recently received a $50,000 grant from the Beazley Foundation to support families with children in Suffolk and Isle of Wight County.

“That is a significant grant for VLAS,” said Rhonda Knight, director of development for the society. “This grant will bring additional access to low-income people that otherwise may not have it.”

The legal aid society provides help with civil matters for low-income families, including issues of health care, education, income, family stability and housing.

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It helps families increase and preserve financial resources; increase access to public benefit programs, insurance and employment; increase stability for families in transition; and maintain or obtain safe and affordable housing.

“Our clients are desperate for help,” Knight said. “They are teetering on the edge, and we are their safety net to keep them in their homes, for not being evicted wrongfully from their home, to help them with medical benefits. We help men, women and children with the basic necessities of life.”

If a family is being evicted from its home, for example, for defaulting on its mortgage, the Virginia Legal Aid Society can help renegotiate the mortgage and keep the family in place, Knight said.

“That means stability for the family, it means stability for your children because they stay in their school,” Knight said.

She said the grant will help the society “help individuals that we would not be able to help without the grant.”

The Beazley Foundation, based in Portsmouth, was established in 1948 with funds from Fred W. Beazley, his wife, Marie, and son, Fred Jr. The needs of the community and young people are the primary focus of the foundation, according to its website.