Coast to Coast Legal Aid’s ‘Mobile Justice Squad’ wins award for innovation
Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) won the 2023 Non-Profit of the Year Award in the “Innovation” category for its Mobile Justice Squad.
The award was presented by 211 Broward at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino during the 12th Annual Community Care Plan Non-Profit Awards hosted in March.
CCLA’s Mobile Justice Squad provides vulnerable seniors in Broward County with legal services at their homes or senior centers. The Mobile Justice Squad features a van which houses a working office where an attorney provides free civil legal assistance. The van was purchased with American Bar Endowment funding, and The Jim Moran Foundation has provided ongoing grant support for the program since inception.
“Each day, Geraldine M. DeBianchi, the attorney who keeps the wheels of justice rolling, meets with homebound or transportation-challenged senior citizens, identifies legal issues, and prepares and files legal documents, all in one visit from Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida’s mobile law office,” said Executive Director Lisa G. Goldberg.
Since its launch, the Mobile Justice Squad has brought legal services directly to senior citizens throughout Broward County.
“As a direct result, over 300 seniors have received life-changing legal assistance,” said DeBianchi. “The Mobile Justice Squad assisted seniors in eviction and foreclosure actions, thereby preventing them from experiencing homelessness. Others have been protected from scams and exploitation or have been aided with applications for the establishment or continuation of public benefits.”
DeBianchi said the project is the “first of its kind” in Florida and is one of only very few throughout the country.
“The Mobile Justice Squad is a vital tool in the CCLA toolkit for the Senior Citizen Law Project, as the senior population remains among the most vulnerable in Broward County,” DeBianchi said.