July 29, 2009


The Legal Aid Society is an indispensable component of the legal, social and economic fabric of New York City - passionately advocating for individuals across a variety of civil, criminal and juvenile rights matters, while also pursung a broad legal reform agenda.

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Legal Aid in the News

Legal Aid Attorney Saves A Queens Family's Home;
Shrinking Resources Will Affect Numbers of Clients

Legal Aid Attorney Saves A Queens Family's Home; Shrinking Resources Will Affect Numbers of Clients

Because of the advocacy of Sumani Lanka, a staff attorney in the Queens Neighborhood Office of the Civil Practice, the home of a Queens family was saved. However, during this economic downturn, Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief, predicts that The Legal Aid Society's Civil Practice will be able to serve fewer clients because of shrinking resources. "We are turning away eight persons for every one person we are able to serve," Banks told New York 1. Read the report of Lily Jamali on New York 1.


Homebound Clients May be Owed Money From the NYC Human Resources;
Call The Legal Aid Society Homebound Review Hotline at 212 577-3699

In Lovely H. v. Eggleston, The Legal Aid Society learned that beginning on February 19, 2009, the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) committed some errors in the way that it processed the cases of homebound clients, causing many homebound clients to lose their benefits in error. HRA is working to correct these errors, restore lost benefits to clients and restore homebound status to any clients for whom homebound status was removed in error . . . Read more.

Landlords Required to Accept Section 8 Vouchers from Current Tenants

Justice Marcy Friedman of the New York Supreme Court, New York County, held in her decision that landlords must accept Section 8 vouchers from current tenants under the J51 Law and Local Law 10 and found that Local Law 10 is not pre-empted. Robert Desir and Judith Goldiner, lawyers in the Civil Practice's Law Reform Unit, are the lawyers on this case . . . Read more.

Legal Aid's Chief Attorney Expresses Shock Over City and State Plans
to Evict Homeless Families With Children

Legal Aid Attorney Saves A Queens Family's Home; Shrinking Resources Will Affect Numbers of Clients

Steven Banks, the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, expressed shock over the City's and State's tougher policy toward homeless families who now can be ejected from city shelters for breaking rules like staying out past curfew and failing to sign in and said the policy will be harmful to innocent children and their families. "With all of the problems that the state has and all of the problems that the city has right now, in the midst of this economic downturn, it's shocking that the state and the city are prepared to invest the resources to put innocent children and their families out of safety-net shelters onto the streets," Banks told The New York Times . . . Read more.

In testimony before the New York City Council's General Welfare Committee, Jane Bock and Amanda Moretti, staff attorneys in The Legal Aid Society's Homeless Rights Project, expressed concern over the City's announced plans to re-implent its Income Contribution Requirement Program and the plans to expel families from the shelter system to the streets and to place their children in foster care plan.

"Homeless families with children would be ejected to the streets and children subjected to foster care for periods of 30 days or longer for violating shelter rules or for failing to keep their public assistance cases open, even though bureaucratic error is the cause of widespread case closings. All of the families who will be subjected to the shelter termination sanction have already been determined by the Department of Homeless Services -- through its extremely stringent Path eligibility process -- to have no other safe or suitable housing available, so the possibility that the families will end up on the streets, that children will end up in foster care, or that families will end up returning to batterers or abusers is all too real." 


Donate New or Gently Used Clothes to Help JRP Clients

Threads for Success, an innovative and exciting new project in the Manhattan office of the Juvenile Rights Practice, assists young people who are involved with Family Court and in need of clothing for job interviews, court appearances or for any other reason. This staff driven project offers JRP clients weekly access to a "clothes closet" filled with donated new and gently used clothes. Clients who are in need can "shop" with the assistance of a Legal Aid staff member and choose an outfit . . . Read more

Legal Aid Testimony On Prison Rape Before Congressional Subcommittee

On July 8th, Lisa Freeman, an attorney with the Prisoners' Rights Project, testified before a Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representative's Judiciary Committee regarding the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission's recently issued Report and Standards. In particular, Lisa endorsed the Commission's call for reform of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), citing the injustice the PLRA has done in the lawsuit Amador v. Andrews. Lisa, along with Dori Lewis, and with the pro bono assistance of Debevoise and Plimpton, LLP, brought the lawsuit to challenge the ongoing and persistent sexual abuse of women prisoners by male staff in New York State prisons . . . Read more | View full testimony

The Legal Aid Society Newsletter is written and edited by Pat Bath, Director of Communications, with technical assistance from Jason Smallwood, Web Developer.

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