Project FAIR (Fair Hearing Assistance, Information, and Referral)

Project FAIR maintains an on-site Legal Help Desk at the State’s central fair hearing site in New York City, and operates a Community Outreach and Advocacy Program. Project FAIR provides city-wide services and:

  • Increases access to information about public benefits, rights in the administrative fair hearing process, and community services
  • Secures quality representation for public benefits applicants and recipients
  • Serves as a resource for community organizations and social service agencies

Did you know…

In the hundreds of State administrative fair hearings held each day to resolve problems involving public benefits, almost 95% of individuals appear without representation or assistance. Through the support of trained volunteers, Project FAIR is able to provide legal assistance to over 1,200 individuals a year when and where they need it most.

Case Example

When she approached Project FAIR’s Legal Help Desk, Ms. A was facing eviction in Housing Court. The welfare agency had ignored Ms. A’s request that her two adult daughters be removed from her welfare case. This inaction prevented Ms. A and her other children from qualifying for a housing subsidy that would help them keep their apartment. The family was also facing a utility shut-off.

The Project FAIR volunteer analyzed the facts and decided that the family could use the services of a lawyer. She referred the case to two attorneys in the Society’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Office. One attorney is now working to prevent the eviction of Ms. A’s family, while the other is addressing the family's public benefits problems and trying to avert the utility shut-off.

The Society frequently receives referrals of families facing emergencies who first learn of its services through Project FAIR. The Society sends many volunteers to staff the Legal Help Desk, and also houses Project FAIR’s Director of Operations.