Through the Public Benefits Legal Assistance Project, NLSA addresses the needs of clients in their efforts to access and maintain public benefits i.e. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, Medicaid, Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP), Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), child care subsidies, and General Assistance (GA). NLSA provides representation of clients at hearings and on appeal, and representation of clients to advance their plans for self-sufficiency, including, strategies to help parents access education and training programs as well as supportive services. As part of this project, NLSA also provides outreach and community education to clients and to community groups or agencies serving public benefits eligible populations. Attorney Frank Pistella coordinates these activities.
In 2015-2016, NLSA met with representatives from both Just Harvest and the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to discuss integration of NLSA legal services into their outreach efforts. There were 28 outreach events for 241 people. We believe that the exposure of our program/staff as well as the personal interaction with the other social services agencies serving our low income clients was of tremendous benefit both to our staff and to the organizations involved.