Veterans with unpaid tickets get legal help and fresh start

July 19th, 2017
Attorney Bonnie Shaw explains the ticket repayment requirements to United States Marine and homeless veteran Roderick Green.

Roderick Green is one of more than 48 veterans who came to a free workshop to receive legal assistance for traffic tickets and the fees that accrue for not paying them on time. Roderick owed $424, an amount beyond his means to pay right away and which compromised his credit and his ability to move forward economically.

The “Veteran Driver Restoration Workshop” that Roderick attended was organized by Southwest Solutions, in partnership with Lakeshore Legal Aid.

Roderick Green

Roderick met with Bonnie Shaw, Patent Counsel at General Motors and one of 16 attorneys from local corporations who donated their services through Lakeshore Legal Aid to assist veterans at the workshop. Bonnie gathered Roderick’s information and made the necessary phone calls to the City of Detroit and State of Michigan to establish a repayment plan of $23 a month. This arrangement will allow Roderick to get out of debt and live without fear of arrest because outstanding tickets.

Roderick learned about the workshop through his one-on-one meetings with Bobby Siporin, a financial coach at Southwest Solutions. Roderick is currently living in transitional housing for individuals who were homeless, and is working with Southwest Solutions’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program to obtain permanent housing.

Among the clients he serves, Bobby meets with veterans in SSVF. He helps them understand the rights and responsibilities of leasing an apartment. Bobby also helps the veterans build their credit and become more financially stable, which is often predicated on resolving legal problems.

“Legal issues are the often biggest impediment to employment and often the obstacles can be overcome with the right resources,” Bobby said. “The knowledge and experience the attorneys from Lakeshore provide can resolve in less than an hour an issue a veteran has been dealing with for months or even years. It’s a big deal.”

The legal workshop was held at Southwest Solutions’ Piquette Square for Veterans in Detroit last week. It was open to any veteran interested in consulting an attorney and resolving issues related to traffic tickets.

In addition to Lakeshore Legal Aid, the Secretary of State’s mobile office was on hand to assist the veterans with driver licenses, registrations, and state-issued IDs.

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