Recent News

ELAP- ICHS MEDICAL-LEGAL PARTNERSHIP HAS LAUNCHED

Statement issued by International Community Health Services:

International Community Health Services and Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) today announced a Medical-Legal Partnership that will give low-income patients free legal services. Patients referred from ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic can meet with ELAP’s attorneys for advice on issues impacting their ability to stay in good health.

“ICHS cares for patients holistically. There are many factors that impact whether someone can access and benefit from quality, preventative health care,” said Vanja Knezevic, ICHS Bellevue health center manager. ”Often, low-income and marginalized patients face social issues that can exacerbate health issues. For example, a person who is facing eviction is more likely to be stressed or depressed. Someone who is wrongfully denied public benefits might be prevented from providing healthy nutrition for their family. We’re seeking to lessen these potential health impacts.”

The health care teams at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic will work closely with ELAP’s legal aid attorneys to identify patients who qualify. Referred patients will meet with an attorney for sessions that will be scheduled at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic.

“We are excited to move forward with ICHS,” said Gerald Kroon, ELAP executive director. “This innovative partnership will increase access to much needed civil legal aid, addressing legal issues that adversely affect a person’s medical wellbeing.”

The new partnership is being announced as a six-month pilot program, initially only available by referral through ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic, with the possibility of being extended to include ICHS’s three other full service clinics as future funding and interest allow. Services will be available to qualifying King County residents who fall below 200% of the federal poverty level, which was $50,200 for a family of four in 2018.

FAMILY SEPARATIONS AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

Statement from ELAP Executive Director, Gerald Kroon:

Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) vehemently opposes the policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.‒Mexican border. As a nonprofit committed to justice for all – particularly society’s most vulnerable ‒ we cannot sit back and idly watch as the moral fiber of our country is ripped apart.

The Executive Order signed by the President – as numerous legal experts have pointed out – does nothing to help the families already torn apart by the Administration’s cruel and misguided policies. It also raises serious concerns about the impact of future actions on innocent children and families fleeing unbearable situations.

We are also deeply troubled by the President’s recent assertion that immigrants should be denied due process, which suggests an outrageous disregard for what this country stands for and what our organization champions.

ELAP pro bono attorneys work tirelessly to meet the civil legal needs of low-income residents – including the increasing numbers of immigrants and refugees now living in King County. We will do everything in our power to unite with other decent people working to ensure that humane treatment and legal protection is available to everyone, no matter where they came from or how they got here.