spotlight

Changing Lives Every Day

ALRP board member Erin Smart knew she wanted to be an attorney when she was still a child. “I understood it would mean going to law school even then,” she said, “but I wanted to love what I did for a living, and see how the law has an impact on people’s day-to-day lives. And now that I’m an attorney, I do.”

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Walter Wins Back His Health Insurance

When ALRP client Walter C. made his regular trip to the pharmacy to pick up his medications, the pharmacist informed him that his insurance had been cancelled. It was devastating news for a self-insured person living with HIV. But it wasn’t the first time Walter had heard this. Since 2000, his insurance company had tried to cancel his policy four times for alleged nonpayment of his premiums. “I was at the end of my meds when I found out.”

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Helping Achieve Immigration Goals

Having come to the United States when he was 12 years old, Panel attorney Bernardo Merino has dedicated his law practice to helping others achieve their immigration goals. “Due to the persecution they may have been subjected to in Latin American countries, people who are HIV+ and gay may actually have a fighting chance at securing political asylum,” he says…”

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Cathy Blackstone

A Fulfilled Life through Volunteering at ALRP

In 2006, Cathy Blackstone had her hands full at work, but it wasn’t enough to keep her satisfied. She wanted to volunteer in her spare time, and she wanted to make a difference with an organization that served the LGBT community and advanced civil rights. When she went online and started looking for opportunities to serve on a nonprofit board, ALRP became the beneficiary of her boundless energy.

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Fragrance-Free Care for Client

Whenever ALRP client Stokes first enters a space—the hallways of his apartment building, a city bus, a restaurant—only one thing crosses his mind. “Is this space safe for me?” In addition to being HIV-positive, Stokes suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Exposure to perfume or cologne causes him nausea, headaches, and difficulty breathing. Ironically, safe access to medical facilities has been one of his biggest challenges.

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Defending Clients Hurt on the Job

Panel attorney Michelle Mandel always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father, a successful personal injury lawyer. Through her father’s work, Michelle learned that not only can traumatic accidents and negligent medical treatment be painful and debilitating, but they can often result in significant healthcare costs and lost wages.

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Saving Clients’ Long-Term Disability Income

Panel attorney Cassie Springer-Sullivan knew since she was sixteen years old that she wanted to be an attorney and use her skills, knowledge, and empathy to assist people in times of crisis. Cassie started her own law firm in 2008 and is committed to serving ALRP clients with disabling HIV/AIDS who suffer the devastation of losing their long-term disability income.

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Matt Maintains Mobility

When HIV began to impair his ability to walk, ALRP client Matt ordered a motorized wheelchair and eagerly awaited its delivery. However, he soon realized that the elevator in his building was too small to accommodate the wheelchair. When his landlord refused to accommodate his disability, Matt turned to ALRP staff attorney Diana Hughes and Panel attorney Andrew Westley.

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A New Home for Hector

Searching for housing in the San Francisco Bay Area is undeniably stressful. But for a person living with HIV/AIDS, the inability to secure safe, affordable housing can lead to homelessness or exile from San Francisco. A new home would cement a long-awaited new beginning for ALRP client Hector R. When Hector’s application to an affordable housing development was denied in January 2010, he turned to ALRP for assistance.

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Helping Clients Recover from Financial Problems

Mounting medical bills and credit card debt can feel crushing for ALRP clients. ALRP Panel attorney Mark Chernev sees bankruptcy as a helpful option for clients who have fallen on tough times. “My work is very rewarding,” Mark says. “It’s my goal to help clients gain financial control over their lives and give them a fresh start.”

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