Texas Appleseed continues to look at how we can help achieve justice for underserved populations in Texas. Here, we introduce projects that we are beginning to tackle, with background information and how you can get involved.
- Few advocacy groups are focusing on systemic issues affecting the more than 3 million people over the age of 65 living in Texas today. Yet, as the population continues to age and grow, a myriad of social and economic issues face this population. These matters include financial abuse, limited housing, limited mental health care options, and guardianship concerns. For example, Texas has the highest percentage of low-rated nursing homes in the country. Similarly, boarding homes provide a much-needed housing option to a vulnerable elderly population, but some boarding homes suffer from a lack of oversight. Texas Appleseed partnered with Baker Botts LLP to do initial research to determine what issues are most pressing for Texas' seniors and identified the issues of financial exploitation and housing/home care. To begin to address the issue of financial exploitation, Texas Appleseed has continued its partnership with Baker Botts LLP, and together we will produce four guides that will address appropriately managing someone else's money, focusing specifically on four fiduciary capacities: power of attorney, court appointed guardians, trustees, and government fiduciaries. If you have interest in receiving information about the release of these guides or think you can contribute information, knowledge, or other resources with regard to this project area, please contact Gabriella McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement to seize property that it asserts has been involved in certain criminal activity. While advocates of the practice assert that it is an important tool for fighting crime, by reducing the profitability of and removing assets required for certain criminal activity, there is evidence that the practice has and continues to be routinely abused. These abuses occur, at least in part, due to the fact that law enforcement can retain up to 90 percent of forfeited funds and because oversight is minimal. During the 84th Legislative Session, Texas Appleseed supported the efforts of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas to limit the abuses that asset forfeiture allows. Some of the sensible solutions that we asked legislators to consider included: better reporting, stronger protections for people whose assets have been seized, and putting the funds in a common statewide pool so that there are fewer incentives for abuse. To find out more, download this fact sheet and infographic. To join pro bono attorneys from Alston & Bird LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, and Hunton & Williams LLP in researching and supporting work on this project, please contact Gabriella McDonald at email@example.com.