To provide legal and advocacy services, training, education, and related activities to persons with disabilities and chronic health conditions and, in certain issues, to organizations representing their interests, with an emphasis on those most vulnerable and needy.
Founded in 1976, the Community Health Law Project (CHLP) is a New Jersey statewide not-for-profit advocacy and legal service organization which provides legal representation and advocacy services to low-income individuals with disabilities and the frail elderly. The organization has traditionally specialized in services exclusively for these populations, although recently the organization has begun to provide broader services through the creation of medical-legal partnerships that offer the entire range of civil law.
Through the services it offers, CHLP maintains the independence and self-sufficiency of its clients so that they can live productive lives as contributing members of their communities. Clients are comprised of persons with chronic mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities, mobility impairments, sensory impairments that render persons blind or deaf, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and more recently persons with substance use disorders and chronic health conditions. In summary, their clients are individuals who, by virtue of their age, health, or disability, cannot negotiate the complexities of daily life on their own and need the assistance of attorneys and advocates to help them with legal matters so that they may continue to live independently.
CHLP employs over 60 people, including attorneys, advocates, and support staff, who are skilled in working with these special populations. In its over 45 years of service, CHLP has represented more than 85,000 individual clients. Each year, it provides services to approximately 4,500 people in 5,000 individual cases. In addition, CHLP educates thousands of practitioners of law, health, and social work as well as consumers and families through conferences, hotlines, special programs and its website at www.chlp.org.
The administrative office is located in South Orange, and the five direct service offices are situated statewide in Neptune, Bloomfield, Trenton, Elizabeth, and Collingswood with satellite offices in Jersey City, Toms River, Mt. Holly, and Galloway.
CHLP offers services in a number of areas including, but not limited to, Social Security Disability Insurance; Supplemental Security Income; public entitlements; landlord-tenant matters; family law; Medicaid/Medicare; home care issues involving private duty nursing, personal care assistance, and durable medical equipment; consumer law; foreclosure; reverse mortgage issues; barrier-free accessibility; housing discrimination; guardianships; and document drafting such as Wills, Living Wills, and Powers of Attorney.
In addition to direct client representation, CHLP also conducts extensive outreach to advocacy and service organizations to inform staff and consumers about their services, as well as to educate them about the different areas of law that affect their client population.
Funding for CHLP’s work is provided by governmental agencies, corporate and foundation grants, and individual contributions.