Legal aid increases the resources available to Ms. Madoshi and other low-income seniors

A debilitating chronic disease forced Diana Madoshi into early retirement. Without a steady income, the cost of health insurance soon exhausted her savings and eventually forced the sale of her home. Out of options, Ms. Madoshi sought legal assistance to apply for public benefits. However, although Ms. Madoshi now qualifies for Social Security, she still struggles to make ends meet. “The cost-of-living increase,” she says, “barely covers the real cost of basic items.” Before Ms. Madoshi received Section 8 assistance a few months ago, almost two thirds of her income went to rent. And, without a car, Ms. Madoshi relies on family and friends for transportation but can’t always afford to chip in for gas.

Through her volunteer work, Ms. Madoshi met Susan E. Smith, Managing Director at Insight Center for Community Economic Development (Insight Center), and together they advocated for the state to adopt a new economic standard, the Elder Index, so policymakers and local agencies can make smarter, data-driven decisions about how they use existing, limited resources.

“The criteria they currently use to determine the allocation of resources to seniors is outdated and only based on the price of food,” says Ms. Madoshi. “It’s like teaching science with a science book from 50 years ago. It makes no sense.”

After two years of consistent outreach and advocacy, their efforts were rewarded when Governor Brown signed into law AB 138, requiring public aging agencies to use the Elder Index to determine the economic needs of seniors in their planning and resource allocation considerations. “For seniors on fixed incomes,” says Ms. Madoshi, “to live our lives with dignity is a daunting challenge.” A challenge lessened, we hope, by the efforts of Ms. Madoshi and the staff at the Insight Center who campaigned tirelessly for the passage of AB 138. Donate now to help people like Ms. Madoshi obtain critical legal aid.

The Campaign for Justice. Choose Justice. Increasing Access for Those Without.
Insight Center for Community Economic Development, Oakland, California

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