Amid COVID-19 pandemic concerns, Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County is doing what it can to remain open and actively serving the local community. Legal services are now being offered by phone.
The nonprofit law firm provides free legal assistance to low-income and disadvantaged residents in both north and south counties.
Michael St. Denis, a staff attorney at the Lompoc office, says due to precautions taken to stop the spread of the virus, courts are closed except for emergencies situations.
And legal issues are still abound in the region, some related to the fallout of the pandemic.
"For example, today I have been helping two different sets of clients addressing housing issues: one in Solvang and one in Santa Ynez," St. Denis said, adding that a colleague was at the same time in Lompoc helping clients. "...some people need legal advice [regarding] housing issues; others are dealing with domestic violence; some are losing benefits such as Section 8 housing vouchers, or having problems with employment/unemployment issues."
St. Denis said that seniors also are experiencing their own set of issues.
"Sometimes people just need general personal legal advice while they are trying to navigate the new normal in the Valley," said St. Denis, a newer resident of the Santa Ynez Valley who has practiced law for nearly 30 years in the LA area. "Our office is open and working hard to help as many people as possible. If for any reason we can't help a person out, we can at least put them in touch with someone who can."
The Santa Barbara office serves South County residents, while the Lompoc Legal Aid office serves Mid-County residents who reside in the Santa Ynez and Lompoc valleys. A third office in Santa Maria office serves northern Santa Barbara County clientele.
For more information and a list of Legal Aid offices in Santa Barbara County, visit lafsbc.org or contact the mid-county office at 805-736-6582.
Corornavirus Photos: Life on the Central Coast during Covid-19 pandemic
032620 Hanock Mendiola 02.jpg
032620 Hanock Little 01.jpg
051520 SY Allen and Rocha sign 01.jpg
051320 Parker Reynolds swims 01.jpg
051320 Parker Reynolds swims 02.jpg
051420 William Libbon School 01.jpg
051320 Peasants Feast 01.jpg
Joke of the day table
051320 Buellton stroll 01.jpg
051320 Marian flyover 01.jpg
051220 Coronavirus masks 01.jpg
051220 Penitentiary support .jpg
051220 Surf Connection reopens 01.jpg
051120 SMHS gowns 01.jpg
051120 SMHS gowns 03.jpg
051120 Mission Hope convoy 01.jpg
051120 Mission Hope convoy 02.jpg
050820 Righetti softball seniors 02.jpg
050820 Jacob West 01.jpg
050820 Jacob West 04.jpg
050820 Righetti celebration 05.jpg
050820 Righetti celebration 01.jpg
050820 Righetti celebration 02.jpg
050820 Righetti celebration 03.jpg
Santa Maria economic impacts
050820 Lompoc coronavirus testing 01.jpg
050820 Lompoc coronavirus testing 02.jpg
050720 U-Pick Blueberries 03.jpg
050620 Manzanita parade 01.jpg
050620 Manzanita parade 02.jpg
050620 Coronavirus Solvang masks .jpg
050620 Coronavirus Solvang store.jpg
050620 SM economy 01.jpg
050620 SM economy 02.jpg
050620 Skate park mulched 01.jpg
050520 Orcutt Academy celebration 01.jpg
050520 Orcutt Academy celebration 02.jpg
050520 Fairpark COVID-19 testing begins 03.jpg
050520 Koh's curbside delivery
050420 Fairpark COVID-19 testing preparation 01.jpg
050420 Fairpark COVID-19 testing preparation 02.jpg
043020 Community Craft winery 01.jpg
043020 Community Craft winery 02.jpg
043020 Community Craft winery 03.jpg
050120 SMHS college signing 01.jpg
050120 SMHS college signing 02.jpg
050120 May Day Caravan 01
050120 Lompoc class 2020 honored 04.jpg
050120 Lompoc class 2020 honored 03.jpg
050120 Open SYV rally 03.jpg
050120 Open SYV rally 01.jpg
050120 Open SYV rally 02.jpg
043020 Pismo Beach 02.jpg
043020 Pismo Beach 01.jpg
042929 Funeral restrictions 01.jpg
042929 Funeral restrictions 02.jpg
042929 Marian blood drive 02.jpg
042929 Marian blood drive 01.jpg
042820 Nipomo drive through 01.jpg
042820 Nipomo drive through 02.jpg
042820 Nipomo drive through 03.jpg
042820 PV gown drive through 01.jpg
042820 PV gown drive through 02.jpg
042820 PV gown drive through 03.jpg
042820 Foodbank produce bags 02.jpg
042820 Foodbank produce bags 03.jpg
042820 Foodbank produce bags 01.jpg
042720 Ballard coronavirus hearts 01.jpg
042720 Ballard coronavirus hearts 02.jpg
042520 Penitentiary protest 01.jpg
042520 Penitentiary protest 02.jpg
A hydrogeologist who was laid off last summer from a Santa Ynez water district has filed suit against her former employers, alleging that her boss misused public resources, made her his personal secretary, physically threatened her when she objected, then conspired to force her out after she reported him.
A large adult California Black Bear, estimated to be approximately 400 pounds, wandered into town on Saturday evening.
Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News.
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.