Clark Co. Volunteer Lawyers Program
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News Release
Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program receives $24,000 grant from Community Foundation for Southwest Washington (Photo) - 12/20/18

Funds will aid Fresh Start program, relieving legal barriers to housing and asset building

Vancouver, WA - Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program (CCVLP, ) recently received a grant from the Waldon M. Groves Fund, a charitable fund at the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington.

This grant will fund the development and implementation of the Fresh Start program, in which staff and volunteer attorneys help clients navigate the legal system to 1) defend against or resolve debt, 2) have court fines reduced and waived and 3) improve the legal records of clients.

All clients served by CCVLP have legal concerns in Clark County and live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Most of the clients assisted by CCVLP with unpaid court fines live unhoused or in temporary housing. Because of their unpaid fines though, they are 1) not eligible to have their record expunged, regardless of the age of the crime, and 2) if their fines are in collections, they have poor credit and are without a driver’s license by court order.

Many people living in poverty in Clark County have criminal records that could be expunged or vacated, debt that could be defended in court or cleared through bankruptcy, and court fines they may never be able to pay without a judicial review. CCVLP is a frequent collaborator with community organizations that serve these individuals, ensuring clients receive expert legal advice, increased knowledge of the court system and dedicated staff to manage barrier reduction.

This funding will allow staff to better collaborate with partner organizations, expand client outreach and be present at court dockets. More importantly, staff will have increased ability to provide one-on-one coaching and support for clients with criminal or debt-related barriers to housing or asset building.

Elizabeth Fitzgearld, Executive Director of CCVLP, states, “Ultimately, this grant improves our ability to address the needs of clients who have significant legal issues that create barriers to securing stable housing. Despite having a justice system that is guaranteed to them, many people find it difficult to access without legal aid. This program ensures clients effectively utilize the justice system and in turn improve financial and housing security.”

For more information on how you can support the efforts of CCVLP, contact Executive Director, Elizabeth Fitzgearld, at 360.823.0423 or visit

About Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program

Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program (CCVLP) facilitates access to free civil legal aid to low income people in Clark County through the strength of its volunteers. Specifically, local attorneys volunteer their time to meet one-on-one with clients facing civil legal concerns like divorce, eviction, custody disputes or debt disputes.

About the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington

Established in 1984, The Community Foundation helps southwest Washington residents build a more vibrant community by inspiring them to engage in philanthropy. The Foundation holds more than 300 distinct funds, which are pooled, managed and invested to generate growth and income for granting purposes. Governed by an esteemed volunteer Board, the Community Foundation offers benefits and services to donors, nonprofits and the community at large.