Local Hero Tom Burns Lauded for Lifetime Achievement

ALRP remains beyond grateful for Tom Burns’ affable friendship, his focused expertise and enduring goodwill – it means everything to us.

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Sharing Gratitude for ALRP

ALRP recently received an email from one of our clients, expressing his deep appreciation for the advocacy he received from ALRP Staff Attorney Stephen Spano. Ryan and his neighbors were required to leave a licensed facility for people living with HIV who have a very acute level of health care need and find new, more appropriate housing.

“I wanted to check in with you as I’ve just completed my first full month in my studio apartment! Joy! I am feeling healthier and better able to focus on my goals. ALRP helped not only me, but others who made the transition to permanent supportive housing. I hope that you are aware of the impact you make. You worked in the trenches alongside clients like me and helped us navigate the systems we need for support. Many blessings to you and ALRP.”

Every case we work on is unique and potentially transformative for the people involved. ALRP is grateful for you and our extended community that makes our work possible. Thank you!

Laura Maechtlen Receives Prestigious James C. Hormel Philanthropy Award (Again!)

A well-deserved award for Laura Maechtlen

Generous, humble, hardworking, and loyal — Laura’s easy-going nature has always made her a valued ALRP family member. This year, ALRP is delighted to shine a spotlight on Laura’s years of work to support ALRP’s mission of improving the health of people living with HIV by resolving their legal issues. Laura has assisted ALRP in just about every way possible, serving as the Pro Bono contact for her firm, as an ALRP Board member (including serving as Board Secretary) and as an incredibly generous donor.

Laura shares, “I am incredibly proud to support ALRP and it’s incredible work in support of our communities living with HIV/AIDS. I am proud to be a part of the history of an organization with high impact and hope many others will join me in supporting this treasure of a legal services organization.”

As a Partner at Seyfarth & Shaw, Laura is a recognized national leader in employment law. She has been called one of the best lawyers in America, a Super Lawyer, and a Rising Star. We know her to be a true friend of the LGBT and HIV community in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is passionate about helping her clients build strong workplace cultures focused on compliance, diversity, and inclusion. She is a member of her firm’s executive committee, chair of their Labor & Employment Department, and a co-chair of the firm’s National Diversity & Inclusion Action Team.

Her community service is legendary. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), Lambda Legal, the National Lesbian Gay Law Association, the California Minority Counsel Program, and as a Commissioner for the Latina Commission of the Hispanic National Bar Association.

About the James C. Hormel Philanthropy Award

James C. Hormel was an extraordinary person who made San Francisco his home. He was an LGBT activist, a U.S. diplomat, and heir to the Hormel meatpacking fortune. He served as the United States Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1999 to 2001, and notably was the first openly gay man to represent the United States as an ambassador. Jim played a pivotal role in securing marriage equality in the years leading up to the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015.

Jim never lost sight of the opportunity each of us has in building a more compassionate and understanding world – reaching across differences, while strengthening countless civic organizations like ALRP along the way. Trained as an attorney himself, Jim deeply understood the work of ALRP and was visionary in his commitments to legal advocacy.

“Last year, Jim’s passing was a terrible loss for the philanthropic community. This year, there is no one more deserving of Jim’s namesake award than Laura Maechtlen,” states ALRP Executive Director Bill Hirsh. “We are truly grateful for her sustained involvement over many years. It is rare to have someone of Laura’s stature remain so dedicated and committed to a cause for so long.” Laura continues to give back and support her community in public ways and in many quiet, unheralded ways. We look forward to raising a toast to Laura and in the process — confer our esteem and love for one of our own.
Thank you, Laura!


A Fresh Start for Ebony

Ebony and Stephen on move-in day

Every week, we see the impact of our work in people’s lives. Providing legal advocacy can be life-changing for the people we serve, and we thought we would take a moment to share with you one of our recent successes, and the kinds of partnerships that make genuine change possible.

Though long-time ALRP client Ebony resided in a supportive housing building, she did not feel terribly supported there.  For years she faced identity-based discrimination concerns, privacy issues, and she even experienced an assault by another resident without any meaningful action being taken by the building’s management.

For years ALRP’s HIV Consumer Advocacy Project Staff Attorney Stephen Spano had advocated for her to get a room with her own bathroom and although that request was technically granted, the building’s management only placed her on a waitlist which had over 200 people on it.

Finally, after over two years of advocating with government agencies, ALRP was finally able to secure Ebony a long-term, deep housing subsidy in a building where she can have a private bathroom as well as a number of other amenities.

While her rent will actually decrease in her new apartment, the supportive services available to her will increase. After signing her lease last month, ALRP was able to secure practical support for Ebony’s move so she could have a fresh start.

Ebony has lived a life with more than her share of knocks. But through it all she has demonstrated a remarkable level of strength and resilience. HCAP’s curly-haired and doggedly persistent Staff Attorney Spano made all the difference in pulling together the many strands that needed straightening in order to land Ebony a new home.

Ebony agrees with us at ALRP that Stephen is “one of the good ones!”

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