Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center Awarded Oakland County Bar Foundation Grant

Grant will allow greater access to justice for underserved communities in Pontiac

A $20,000 grant from the Oakland County Bar Foundation (OCBF) will support the continued operation of Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center’s Pontiac Legal Clinic. “This is the second year we’ve given a grant to the Pontiac Legal Clinic,” said Veronica Leonard, Oakland County Bar Foundation President. “We were impressed with what was accomplished in the first year, and expect even greater things this year.”

The Pontiac Clinic sees mostly Spanish-speaking Oakland County residents, many of whom are navigating the US immigration system for the first time. It is one of the very few legal resources available to low-income people in the area.

While a 2017 grant from the OCBF helped launch the Pontiac Center, this year’s grant will help expand staff resources.  “Oakland County now has more residents born outside the U.S. than any other county in Michigan,” said Kevin Piecuch, SWIRC’s executive director.  “This grant will allow us to expand our presence where legal services are needed most.”

The Pontiac Legal Clinic serves a population that traditionally lacks access to quality legal services. Few legal offices are located in immigrant communities.  Further, recent immigrants often avoid approaching police or other government institutions when they need help. Consequently, these Oakland County residents, who often need legal services, are the least able to secure them. The Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center, through the Pontiac Legal Clinic. is changing that.

For more information on the work of Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center please visit https://detimmigrantcenter.com or contact Adam Delezenne, Director of Operations and Outreach, at adam@detimmigrantcenter.com

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