ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Today, Supervisor Foley recognized the pro-bono attorneys and volunteers of the Veterans Legal Institute (VLI) and their support for Orange County’s veterans population. Sponsoring the event, Supervisor Foley highlighted the joint commitment of her office and the VLI to assist veterans and provide essential legal assistance.
“The harsh reality is that veterans in Orange County go hungry, unsheltered, and neglected every day,” said Supervisor Foley. “Thank you to the pro-bono attorneys, volunteers, and staff at the VLI who dedicate as much as 10,000 volunteer hours to setting our veterans up for success. We must show those who fought for our freedom that we continue to fight for them. Our veterans give everything to this country, and we must treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Since its founding in 2014, the VLI has secured more than $3.9 million in Veterans Affairs benefits for OC Veterans and another $560,000 in civil awards. Helping those who are most often overlooked, VLI has made a name for itself nationwide as a leader in both the practice and reform of law related to Military Sexual Trauma and military discharge upgrades. Notably, VLI is also one of the only veterans aide organizations to extend legal services to veterans’ families, acknowledging the burdens loved ones carry.
Today’s event comes on the heels of Supervisor Foley’s presentation of grocery gift cards totaling $15,000 to local veterans' service organizations to address the ongoing food insecurity problem among the Orange County veteran population. The presentation was made possible by Supervisor Foley’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) discretionary dollars allocated for meal-gap funding.
Reflecting her commitment to supporting the veteran population in Orange County since joining the Board of Supervisors in 2021, Supervisor Foley:
- Formed a Veterans Advisory Team and hired one of only two military veterans to work on the 5th floor with the Board of Supervisors.
- Secured up to $4 mil in MHSA funding for a new outreach program to reach socially isolated senior veterans to end the epidemic of Suicide in that population
- Voted to allocate $20 mil. to build Orange County’s first Veterans Cemetery at Gypsum Canyon
- Gave out more than $50,000 in food assistance to OC veterans service organizations for their distribution.
- Moved forward Senator Umberg’s Senate Bill 498, which allowed disabled Veterans to qualify for free legal services by reducing income requirements. This important legislation was signed into law in October of 2021.
- Partnered with Veterans service providers and employers to host a job fair which prioritized hiring Veterans and connecting them to extra services.
- Started a District 2 Veterans of the Year Program.
- Held the first annual Flag Day and Army Birthday Celebration at the Old County Court House with the CO of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Los Angeles District, Colonel Julie Bolton
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2021 to represent Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Following redistricting, the Board appointed her to additionally serve as caretaker for the future District 2, which includes the communities of Santa Ana and portions of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Tustin, and unincorporated North Tustin.
Supervisor Foley serves on the Airport Ad Hoc Committee & Fly Friendly working group, the Sober Living Home Ad Hoc Committee, and boards of the Orange County Transportation Authority, CalOptima, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, Law Library, Newport Bay & South Orange County Watershed Management Area Executive Committees & the Santa Ana River Flood Control Protection.