Biography of Hatixhe Berani Grbeshi

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Hatixhe Berani Grbeshi, Disability Representative

Juris Doctor, J.D. and Mental Health Rehab Specialist, MHRS


Mrs. Grbeshi is an interdisciplinary professional. Her background helped her contribute to Santa Clara County disabled community, refugee and immigrant communities for almost twenty (20) years. She herself is a former refugee from Kosovo trained in law in Kosovo and attained Juris Doctorate degree at Lincoln Law School of San Jose, CA (attorney candidate).For the last six years, while using her interdisciplinary background, of eighteen (18) years, outlined below, she co-developed a unique advocacy program under Santa Clara Law Group, APC (SCLG) for representing and advocating for disabled individuals applying for benefits from Social Security Administration (SSA). She is authorized legal representative represents disabled individuals for benefits by SSA and in front of Administrative Law Judges, supervised by the managing attorney of Santa Clara Law Group Mr. Nick Forooghi. Also she educates the community, provides free workshops, on these benefits and collaborates with a variety of providers.

She is passionate to help the economic growth in our Santa Clara County and help on leveling the play field, providing opportunities, for vulnerable populations, including disabled, refugees and others.  She initiated the innovative idea that the Refugee and Immigrant Forum (RIF) of Santa Clara County and other organizations participate at the White House (WH) convening on June 2016, National Skills and Learning Institute, to advocate for career pathways for refugee and immigrant professionals and for the economic benefits to our county/CA.

She is certified by Santa Clara County as a Mental Health Rehab Specialist, trained in dual diagnoses by Catholic Charities and Drug Treatment Court, and trained in mediation by the Loyla Mediation Center and by the Office of Human Relations (OHR), which supported her to introduce her novel mediation model for refugees and immigrants in a national conference. Mrs. Grbeshi was also trained in domestic violence (DV), and served in DV council, trained in program development for non -profits and for-profits, trained to work with incarcerated individuals ( Elmwood Jail, Public Defenders office, Drug Treatment and Criminal Court), trained to work with younger children 0-5, families and elder adults, and trained on representing disabled individuals for disability benefits. She advocated for, co-developed and ran programs for marginalized populations, and received awards by entities i.e. FIRST 5, Superior Drug Treatment Court, African Community Heath Institute etc. She speaks Albanian, English, and Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian.

The impact to our community as a result of her contributions:

  1. A) Large number of the refugee, immigrant, homeless and other disabled people received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD). B)These disabled individuals were educated/ encouraged to become productive citizens i.e. work part time while receiving SSI or SSDI benefits, and were empowered to advocate for their needs and integrate into society. C)The disabled individuals with criminal backgrounds were provided unique collaborative representations with other providers to help them increase their chances to rehabilitate into society and prevent recidivism. D) Grbeshi provides free educational workshops on SSI/SSDI and other benefits. She provided educational trainings to many entities including Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities of San Jose, International Rescue Committee of San Jose and Oakland, Valley Medical Center, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), Refugee and Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County and San Francisco,, PARS Equality Center, Refugee Lenzen Clinic, Gardner Mental Health, Family Alliance for Counseling Tools and Resolution, African Community Health Institute, Community Solutions, Parents Helping Parents (PHP), Muslim Community Association, Maitri, Next Door Solutions, Mekong Community Center, St Joseph Family Center, Re-Entry Center, San Francisco General Hospital, Gilroy Elementary School District, Eastern European Community and other entities. She partners with the Alexander Community Law Center-Santa Clara University Law, provide free educational workshops on long term, short term disability and other related areas.

She believes that collaboration is key to providing good services for her clients and community engagement. She networks and collaborates with many individuals and organizations.

Her contributions made in voluntary capacity:

She is serving as Co-President of Silicon Valley United Nations Associations of USA. She provides leadership, building capacity, event planning and collaborations with other agencies.

She initiated the innovative idea that the Refugee and Immigrant Forum (RIF) of Santa Clara County and other organizations participate at the White House (WH) convening on June 2016, to advocate for career pathways for refugee and immigrant professionals and for the economic benefits to our county/CA. She was the only former refugee professional from the CA at this WH convening. She was supported by the Lincoln Law School of San Jose and Pacifica Institute. She is the member of the subcommittee of RIF, a group advocating for career pathways for refugee and immigrant professionals. She has been an active member of RIF for years, tirelessly advocating for refugee and immigrant rights, services, and policies in Santa Clara County.

On a personal capacity, Mrs. Grbeshi continues to advocate for this issue. She has submitted written recommendations to the Refugee Program Bureau (RPB) chief, and introduced this initiative to the public officials and entities, including Santa Clara University.

She has also provided input regarding different projects impacting refugees and immigrants i.e. Red Cross’ innovative electronic project and West Valley College Migrant Well-being and Technology, a joint-research project of University of Berkley and University of WA.

In addition she serves as a consultant and on the advisory board for non-profits i.e. African Community Health Institute, Always Be listening Global Initiative, Family Alliance for Counseling Tools and Resolution, Saint Mary Di Rosa Academies, Prerna Inspire Refugees, and Somatic & Expressive Arts.

Mrs. Grbeshi is passionate about helping refugees and immigrants with disabilities. She and Family and Alliance for Counseling Tools (FACTR) met at UC Berkley to introduce a project for needs for refugees and immigrants with disabilities. They met with disability rights leaders: Dr. Victor Pindeda, UC Berkeley, the founder of the World Enabled, Susan Henderson, the Executive Director of Disability Rights and Educational Defense Fund (DREDF), and others.

She received the following recognitions/certificate of appreciation, for her work and dedication to serve vulnerable populations. Including disabled, refugees, immigrants;


  1. Certificate of appreciation from Drug Treatment Court, honorable Judge Terry for outstanding service to the Community and Drug Courts of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.
  2. Certificate of appreciation from Domestic Violence Council Santa Clara County for the dedication in the struggle to eliminate family violence in our community.
  3. Certificate of appreciation from The Refugee and Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County “for commitment of time and talents to helping newcomers”
  4. Award recognition from First 5 Santa Clara County for running very successful program for Eastern European Service Agency and African Community Health Institute for serving refugees and Immigrants from Santa Clara County.
  5. Certificate of appreciation from Gilroy Unified School District for presenting on SSI/SSDI benefits at the 2nd annual conference.
  6. County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors Commendation and honored for receiving the beacon of light award improving the lives of immigrants in Santa Clara County.
  7. Certificate of Recognition from the State California, Senator Jim Beall of the California State Legislature for receiving the beacon of light award and for commitment and serving all members of Senate District 15. .
  8. Certificate of Special Recognition from the member of the Congress Zoe Lofgren In recognition of leadership and advocacy for refugees, immigrants, homeless and the disabled in our community.
  9. The office of Immigrant Relations presented with ”The Beacon of Light Award” for innovation in Programs and Services for Refugees and Immigrants.

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