The San Luis Obispo Senior Legal Services Project is under new direction after 14 years. Gigi Sawyer, a graduate of King Hall School of Law at U.C. Davis, has been hired to replace Angie King, who founded the program in 1994.
Sawyer, a San Luis Obispo County native, said that she’s very excited about her new position and is, “looking forward to
- PHOTO BY CARRIE COVELL
- SHE PROTECTS AND SERVES : Gigi Sawyer directs legal services for SLO seniors
Sawyer has extensive legal experience, having served as a court reporter in San Luis Obispo County for 16 years, in addition to working for the San Luis Obispo County Counsel, the Superior Court of Santa Barbara, and several law firms, including Carsel and Attala in SLO. “I’ve been extremely fortunate,” said Sawyer about her previous experiences. “I’ve had great mentors who have used their skills to help people.” Sawyer said that she aims to mirror their examples.
Sawyer is well received, both by Michael Blank, Chair of the San Luis Obispo Legal Alternatives Corporation, which is the parent group to the Senior Legal Services Project, and by King. “I’m looking forward to working with Gigi to help deliver even better services to seniors,” said Blank, in an official statement. King, who is currently training Sawyer, said in the same statement, “I am very pleased to be able to pass the reins of this important service to Ms. Sawyer. I leave knowing the program is in very capable hands.” Blank said, “I am very sorry to have Angie leave. She created a great program and gave many years of excellent service to seniors.”
The Senior Legal Services Project is a nonprofit agency funded by the The Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens-Area Agency on Aging and provides free civil legal services to seniors aged 60 and older. Attorneys are available by appointment to meet with seniors and offer confidential advice and counsel at senior centers throughout the county.
According to Sawyer, the project is most concerned with helping seniors receive assistance with such income benefit programs as Social Security and Medicare, and with nursing homes and board-and-care facilities. Elder abuse protections and estate planning are also addressed. Services are provided free of charge, regardless of income status, but donations are always accepted. Appointments can be made and more information can be obtained by contacting the Senior Legal Services Project at 543-5140.
The Area Agency on Aging coordinates and monitors a large number of service programs for seniors outside of the Senior Legal Services Project, including home-delivered meals, health insurance counseling and advocacy, homemaker services, transportation services, Alzheimer’s day care assistance, peer counseling, home repair, and senior employment. The Area Agency on Aging can be reached by calling 800-510-2020.
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