SPECIAL EDUCATION OUTREACH PROJECT
MHAS conducts community training sessions to teach parents and caregivers how to obtain special education services for their children. For families needing additional assistance, MHAS provides individual advocacy including negotiation with school districts and other agencies and representation in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, mediations and administrative hearings.
FAIR HOUSING ADVOCACY PROJECT
MHAS fights housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities through legal representation, fair housing training and community education. MHAS also provides training and technical assistance to fair housing and disability rights advocates, individuals with disabilities and officials from local jurisdictions. MHAS represents individuals with disabilities in a wide range of housing and housing-related matters including landlord-tenant cases.
GOVERNMENT BENEFITS ADVOCACY/ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES PROJECT
Each year MHAS assists hundreds of people with issues related to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other Social Security benefits. This assistance includes providing advice about the SSI application process, as well as preventing clients from losing their SSI benefits by assisting them with post-eligibility issues such as benefit terminations, overpayments and disability reviews. MHAS also helps individuals apply for and maintain Medi-Cal insurance coverage and obtain appropriate mental health services. MHAS’ systems-level advocacy includes working with federal, state and local agencies to develop strategies for increasing access to benefits and services for low-income individuals and strengthening mental health parity requirements.
MHAS provides legal assistance to at-risk and homeless veterans with mental health disabilities to remove barriers to housing stability, employment, and self-sufficiency. Legal issues include landlord tenant matters, fair housing advocacy, problems with disability and other income maintenance benefits, consumer and medical debt, and warrant issues. MHAS has established two behavioral health legal partnerships in this area to resolve clients’ legal issues in an effort to improve mental health outcomes.
With the support of a Skadden Fellowship, this collaborative project with Operation Healthy Homecoming, a program of Mental Health America of Los Angeles, provides legal assistance to veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in a rapid rehousing program.
View our video about BeHeLP-Vets.
This new project supported by Equal Justice Works through an AmeriCorps sub-grant provides direct representation to veterans who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless. MHAS is working with U.S. Vets and other agencies serving veterans to provide legal advocacy as a component of holistic care.
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY
MHAS’ Mental Health Parity Project focuses on assuring that parents and caregivers of children with emotional and behavioral challenges as well as mental health providers have the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to appeal denials of insurance coverage of mental health and substance use abuse treatment.
MHAS participates in impact litigation aimed at improving the lives of low-income people with mental disabilities. For example, as co-counsel in the class action Emily Q. v. Bontá, MHAS played a key role in bringing federally mandated Therapeutic Behavior Services to children in California. MHAS currently serves as co-counsel in Franco-Gonzalez v. Sessions, which is in the monitoring stage of a permanent injunction. In this case the court ordered the United States government to provide counsel to immigration detainees who as a result of a mental disability are unable to provide competent self-representation in their immigration proceedings.