Did you know that people with disabilities:
- Are three times as likely to be unemployed and to live in poverty as people without disabilities?
- Are half as likely to graduate from high school as other students?
- Are disadvantaged in access to health care, transportation, social activities, and political participation?
People with disabilities also face barriers every day – such as in people’s stereotypes, in people’s assumptions about what having a disability means. Those with mobility disabilities routinely face physical obstacles, such as stairs, heavy or narrow doors, high shelves, and inaccessible restrooms that discourage them from leaving their homes. In addition, people with disabilities are often unnecessarily excluded from public participation, employment, and involvement in their communities.
Because such discrimination and inequality exists, the Disability Rights Legal Center has created numerous programs and services to not only enhance, improve, and protect the lives of people living with disabilities, but also increase public interest in and awareness of these issues. Below is a brief overview of their programs with links to their website for more detailed information. DLRC provides a combination of free and low-cost fee-based secrvices to people in Southern California counties and has an extensive pro-bono program.
DRLC Programs and Services:
This Center is a community-based joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School. The CLRC provides free and confidential information, education and resources on a broad range of cancer-related legal issues including health insurance, employment, government benefits, estate planning, advance health care directives, family law, financial assistance, and consumer assistance. These services and information are available to people with cancer, their families, friends, employers, health care professionals, and others coping with cancer.
The CLRC also has a national toll free Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC) where callers can receive information about relevant laws and resources for their particular situation. The CLRC volunteer panel of attorneys and other professionals provide more in-depth information and counsel to CLRC callers.
CLRC staff are also active members of the California Medicare Coalition (CMC).
The DMC provides mediation, conciliation and facilitation services in disability related disputes. Many disputes are better resolved through alternative means of dispute resolution rather than litigation. DMC staff specializes on access, reasonable accommodations and disability related discrimination issues in a wide variety of settings ranging from consumer-merchant, landlord-tenant and neighbor-neighbor conflicts to domestic/relationship problems and employment disputes.
The DMC handles cases referred by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Court of Appeals, Los Angeles County, various community organizations, and callers in need.
The Community Outreach Program provides basic and advanced self-advocacy, etiquette, disability rights, special education and other law trainings to the public and private sector. Throughout the year, the Community Outreach Program will organize and host several events (such as their statewide RespectAbility Disability Action and Advocacy Conference, Disability Mentoring Day, and Disability Rights Roundtables) as well as attend numerous community sponsored fairs and expos. They also publish the Online Update which informs people nationwide about various disability related issues. To learn more about their Outreach events, see their Events Calendar or our Training Menu.
Provides representation for low-income individuals with disabilities facing discrimination. The project concentrates on cases that will establish important legal principles or benefit large groups of people with disabilities. These legal services are offered without charge.
Options Counseling serves as the front door to the Disability Rights Legal Center. The Options Counseling method of intake reflects DRLC’s conviction that many options outside of litigation are available to individuals with a disability related dispute. Options Counseling works together with the Disability Mediation Center, Learning Rights Project, and Civil Rights Litigation Project to conduct an initial intake. Through the process, they inform callers of all their options – including litigation, mediation, and self-help – and help them decide which options to pursue, and identify appropriate resources and referrals.
DRLC’s State Bar certified Lawyer Referral Service refers callers with disability-related cases to private attorneys in Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties. The service provides three subject-matter panels: Labor and Employment, Access to Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, and Administrative Law.