Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance (GBLA) is a non-profit organization that offers free legal services in civil matters to low-income residents living in Kern County.
“The premise of Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance is that we offer legal aide services to underrepresented and underserved communities, particularly low-income and elderly,” said Kassie Mullican, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at GBLA. “While not all of our programs are income eligible, most of them are so our highest priority is low-income. Our services are free to those that qualify based on eligibility.”
In order to apply, individuals must call 661-325-5943 as this number belongs to GBLA’s main intake line. By calling this number, a GBLA associate is able to take information down and conduct an eligibility and conflict check. The organization warns against leaving voice messages as their intake line doesn’t have an answering service.
The organization was founded in 1968 with a set of core values, a few programs, and a mission to promote social change and justice by providing high quality legal services to the low-income community. Their core values are:
- Striving for equal justice for all
- Confronting and addressing the root causes of poverty through the legal process
- Prioritizing to be effective
- Advocating on behalf of clients in the forum which can most appropriately address their issues
- Encouraging education to support our mission
- Empowering those we serve
GBLA now has more than 21 programs and projects that are aimed at helping low-income or elderly individuals. Some of these programs include housing, the Fair Housing Law Project, homelessness prevention, domestic violence, children and families, the Education Law Project, health and public benefits, older adults, the Access to Justice Rural Project, the Mobilehome Advocacy Project, the Neighborhood Revitalization Project, and the Volunteer Attorney Program.
“We represent those who are unable or too afraid to speak for themselves either because of racial, economic, social, or legal barriers and consequently have become a statistic in social and economic research,” the organization’s website states.
In addition to providing legal assistance, GBLA also offers referrals for public benefits and services such as food, utility or rent help, medical by connecting individuals to the organization’s partners.