Karis Jones, a family law specialist here at Howells has been attending the Huggard Centre, a Cardiff charity once a month to provide their service users and members of the public with free legal advice.
The charity, based on Dumballs Road, is open 365 days of the year. It provides support and accommodation for the homeless and works with authorities and organisations to overcome the problems and barriers which force individuals to sleep rough. The facility also includes a hostel and shared housing which can accommodate approximately 70 people.
During her monthly visits, Karis provides a free legal surgery to service users and members of the public on any issues relating to family law. Due to the significant changes in Legal Aid funding and the quality of advice being provided, Karis’ sessions are very popular at the centre. Karis explains: “The Huggard Centre has been providing frontline services to homeless people for over 20 years. Unfortunately, the economic climate and changes to the allocation of Legal Aid has made it often impossible for everyone to seek legal advice in respect to family matters. The surgeries help those in a vulnerable position and the advice provided is appreciated.”
Jenny Buckley, Day Centre Advocate at the Huggard Centre, said: “In the past we have had a good relationship with Howells Solicitors and in particular the family department. They have reacted quickly to urgent referrals and seem to be able to deal with our particular client group.
“The changes in legal help/aid have created obvious barriers to a client’s ability to access support with these issues. Many of our clients have children with whom there are contact and residence issues. Due to the often difficult situations they find themselves in, they are particularly vulnerable and find dealing with statutory agencies like Social Services and the Courts a very daunting prospect.
“We are now collaborating with Howells to provide a drop-in session once a month, for support, advice and possible referral to approach these issues. This is open to all homeless centres in Cardiff and their respective service users. It has so far proved extremely popular and is being frequently used.”
For further information about any of our services, please contact Howells today.
by Tristan Lewis