“There’s no better feeling than handing over keys to a family and them telling me this is the first place they’ve had to call their own,” shares Oscar Aparicio, Housing Specialist at Tipping Point grantee Homeless Prenatal Program. Oscar connects families experiencing homelessness to a place to live and money to help with rent. Yet for the vast majority of these families, obtaining housing isn’t the end of the journey, it’s often just the beginning. Nearly 9 out of 10 low-income families face unaddressed legal issues—custody battles, deportation, debt from costly ticket and tow fees—which threaten their housing, health, and economic stability. While there is only about one attorney for every 9,000 low-income Californians who need legal aid, there are many supports that non-lawyers are able to provide. And that’s where Legal Link comes in.
Tipping Point funds Legal Link to provide legal navigation training to grantee staff so they can identify their clients’ unmet legal needs, connect them to timely resources, and provide upstream support that prevents issues from becoming a crisis. Armed with this knowledge, and Legal Link’s online tools and support, staff more effectively help clients overcome the hurdles that hinder the climb out of poverty. Oscar is one of 750 frontline staff members Legal Link has trained since its founding. Last year, these staff members helped more than 1,900 Bay Area families experiencing housing insecurity navigate challenging legal issues.
“Before, I felt like I was scrambling,” shares Oscar. “Now, when a family brings up a potential legal issue they are facing, I can rely on the tools and the training I have. Something as simple as filling out the right form at the right time can completely change a person’s circumstance.”
Legal Link is just one example of how Tipping Point goes beyond unrestricted grant dollars with customized investments to build each grantee organization’s capacity and strengthen our portfolio’s collective impact. Thanks to the support of donors like you, last year alone we funded 53 capacity building projects valued at $1.6 million. Says Kate Richardson, Legal Link Co-Executive Director, “Tipping Point understood the value of this work and stepped in to fill the gap in funding for this critical resource.”