In the News - Archives

November 22, 2022

Three hour wait, three days in a row: Mass. shelter hotline leaves some families desperate 

Long waits on shelter hotlines are putting people in danger: “'I have had clients who went back to their abusers because they weren't able to access a shelter.' Liz Alfred, Greater Boston Legal Services Attorney."

Please click here to read the full article.


November 12, 2022

How a tweak to a popular rental voucher program is reshaping where people live in Boston 

"Every year a child spends in a high-opportunity neighborhood increases the likelihood that they attend college and boosts their lifetime earnings . . . . Living in the midst of poverty hurts people’s emotional and behavioral health and reduces the chances for upward mobility. Lauren Song, a housing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, described landing in a high-opportunity area simply: 'That is the golden ticket.'"

Please click here to read the full article.


November 9, 2022

What to do if you are sued on an old credit card debt? 

"The most important advice is to go to court to contest the debt. If your case is in the Small Claims sessions (for cases under $7,000) in Roxbury, Dorchester, BMC Central, East Boston, Charlestown or Chelsea, there are free legal services lawyers who can advise you of your rights, and in some cases, represent you that day at your hearing."

Please click here to read the full article.


October 25, 2022

State launches investigation into whether BPS violates education rights of students with disabilities 

"Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Greater Boston Legal Services . . . [allege that] BPS transportation services are 'inadequate, in complete disarray, and disproportionately impact students of color and students with disabilities.'”

Please click here to read the full article.


October 24, 2022

For labor trafficked immigrants, T-visas are a life-saving but flawed relief

“It's both that people don't necessarily know about it, but it's also that identifying cases as being appropriate for [T-visas] and having folks who would be able to take advantage of it come forward are difficult things,” said Audrey Richardson, GBLS managing attorney.

Please click here to read the full article.


October 20, 2022

Innes Redevelopment Breaks Ground Preserving 96 Units of Public Housing

October 18th was the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Innes Redevelopment Project. The newly reconstructed Innes Apartments will provide new homes for the current residents of 96 units of public housing, 40 new middle-income units, and 194 market rate units. 

Please click here to read the article.


October 19, 2022

Advocacy groups decry 'systemic disarray' of Boston Public Schools transportation, special education

"The systemic disarray of the BPS transportation and special education departments deprives thousands of Boston children, many of whom are low-income students with disabilities and students of color, of what cumulatively amounts to weeks or months of learning time."

Please click here to read the full article.


October 11, 2022

Lawsuit says Mass. residents ‘unnecessarily institutionalized’ in nursing homes should have options for independent living

Six people with disabilities who are unnecessarily institutionalized in nursing facilities, joined by the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, filed a class action lawsuit in federal district court in Boston. The plaintiffs are represented by the Center for Public Representation, Justice in Aging, GBLS, and the private law firm Foley Hoag, LLP.

Please click here to read the full article.


October 6, 2022

Families face eviction from property near GLX

“We’re looking at all possible options, but there isn’t a guarantee of an option that will actually end up working for these families who are ultimately looking to find stable, affordable housing and hopefully be able to stay in the city of Somerville,” [GBLS senior attorney] Jessica Drew said.

Please click here to read the full article.


October 5, 2022

How to help Boston's working families struggling with debt

"The debt crisis . . . is not driven by profligate spending. It comes from hard-working families borrowing for necessities because wages have not grown with inflation and unanticipated medical costs and high education costs can create unmanageable financial consequences." Managing attorney of GBLS' Consumer Rights Unit, Nadine Cohen.

Please click here to read the full article.


September 8, 2022

SJC says Boston judge erred in denying marijuana expungement

“This is huge. It’s a fabulous decision that reflects common sense: It’s clearly unjust to carry a criminal record for something that’s no longer a crime.” - Pauline Quirion, GBLS attorney 

Please click here to read the full article.


August 29, 2022

Malden Commits To Chinese Language Election Accessibility Measures

“This victory for the voting rights of the Chinese American community of Malden is a victory for all our communities,” Jodie Ng, GBLS-AOU staff attorney

Please click here to read the full article.


June 21, 2022

Jury orders construction company to pay $650,000 to immigrant worker in retaliation case

"Employers who think that they can take advantage of a worker’s immigration status to undermine their their basic workplace rights... will face serious consequences.”

Please click here to read the full article.


June 21, 2022

Massachusetts bill would auto-seal criminal records for those who are eligible

“The current CORI sealing process has a significant backlog which prevents people from accessing housing and jobs and disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color. The current system is so complicated that people often cannot navigate it without legal assistance,” organizers said in a media advisory. “This bill requires the MA Commissioner of Probation to automatically seal criminal and juvenile records after the applicable waiting periods, without individuals having to file petitions."

Please click here to read the full article.


June 10, 2022

MBTA still has 'much work to do' to make system ADA accessible

“'It’s hard to believe that the Daniels-Finegold v. MBTA case is 20 years old,' said lead plaintiff Joanne Daniels-Finegold. 'As we stated in the settlement agreement, a safe, reliable and accessible trip should be and must be afforded to all passengers.'

Greater Boston Legal Services, which represented the plaintiffs, said on its website that the settlement will 'greatly improve access for the 200,000 people with disabilities who live in the T’s service area.'”

Please click here to read the full article.


June 9, 2022

Help Boston’s working families struggling with debt

Many working families often feel shame about being in debt and are hesitant to talk about it. The debt crisis, however, is not driven by profligate spending. It comes from hardworking families borrowing for necessities because wages have not grown with inflation and unanticipated medical costs and high education costs can create unmanageable financial consequences.

Please click here to read the full article.


May 31, 2022

SafeRent accused of unfairly labeling Black, Hispanic applicants high-risk

“[W]hile SafeRent considers applicants’ credit history, including credit-related information, including non-tenancy debts, and eviction history in calculating SafeRent Scores,” said Todd Kaplan, Senior Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, “SafeRent’s algorithm does not consider the financial benefits of housing vouchers in assigning SafeRent Scores. On average over 73% of the monthly rental payment is paid through these vouchers.”

Please click here to read the full article.


May 19, 2022

Mayor Christenson Announces Deal Between Mystic Valley Regional Charter School and Tenants

"We are pleased that the parties were able to come to a resolution and appreciate Mayor Christenson and Alex Pratt’s willingness to facilitate as mediators and work to ensure that these community members are not displaced from Malden,” said Molly Broderick, an attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services. “We know that this is part of a longer term mission of ensuring that all Malden tenants have access to safe, stable, affordable housing and are encouraged by the City’s commitment to working with the tenant organizing groups with the same goals.”

Please click here to read the full article.


April 11, 2022

Massachusetts businesses not following COVID-19 sick time program, workers and advocates say

"'Without the enforcement, there's always going to be companies to take advantage of that,' [GBLS fellow attorney David] McKenna said. 'It's been totally voluntary cooperation. We try to pressure employers. We tell them it's the law. We tell them they should do it, but it's just totally voluntary whether or not they do.'"

Please click here to read the full article.


December 14, 2021

Residents Seek to Buy and Preserve Fenway Roominghouse

“There is a dire need for safe and affordable housing for low-income women in Boston. A huge number of low-income women in Boston are forced to live in illegal rooming houses that are not safe, often with abusive landlords,” [Greater Boston Legal Services] said in a statement. “Our Lady’s Guild House currently serves a vitally important purpose to provide a haven for low-income women without any other decent, safe place to live in Boston.”

Please click here to read the full article.


August 14, 2021

Jobless workers to lose federal benefits 

"There are a lot of people out there who can't return to the workforce right now, either because they can't find child care or have health concerns." - Monica Halas, lead staff attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services, which works with low-income workers receiving jobless benefits. 

Please click here to read the Salem News story.


August 12, 2021

Lawmakers, advocates push for passage of bills to streamline rental assistance process 

 “(This bill will) force landlords and tenants to engage with that process outside of court to solve problems without the threat of an eviction hanging over their heads,” said GBLS Attorney Joey Michalakes at a Massachusetts State House rally Thursday. Housing advocates and legislators were among those urging the passage of bills to streamline the rental assistance process and to make it harder for landlords to evict tenants into 2022. 

Please click here to read the Boston Herald story.


July 15, 2021

State may convert child tax credit payments 

Massachusetts may convert child tax credit payments; converting tax deductions into cash will help "bridge the gap" for many low- and middle-income families, per GBLS Senior Attorney Melanie Malherbe, quoted in this Gloucester Times article. 

Please click here to read the Gloucester Times story.


July 7, 2021

The money could transform their lives. But thousands of eligible kids may not get the new child tax credit 

“'Imagine trying to go on your phone and filling out this complicated form,' said Melanie Malherbe, a managing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services who has been helping people apply for the credit. The fact that the registration is online and requires people to understand tax terminology made it inaccessible to many, Malherbe said." 

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


June 30, 2021

Tenants And Landlords Navigate the Unknown as Nationwide Ban on Evictions Nears End 

The federal eviction ban will end at the end of July. For eviction help in Boston and the surrounding area, visit or call our housing intake line at 617-603-1807 and leave a message. 

Please click here to read the WBUR story.


June 24, 2021

Malden Seeks Next Step for Bilingual Ballots 

"Illustrating the point and responding to a question from Rep. Tommy Vitolo, Yu Sin Mok, a Greater Boston Legal Services paralegal and Malden resident, transliterated Ultrino's name. She read the pronunciations aloud in Mandarin and Cantonese and offered to post the characters in the chat function accessible to committee members during the virtual hearing. 

'I'll already tell you I can't read it,' said Sen. Barry Finegold, who chairs the committee with Rep. Daniel Ryan. 'If you want to post it, great, but I can tell you right now I know I can't read it. Point well taken, so thank you.'" 

Please click here to read the Patch story.


June 16, 2021

'We're Just Asking for Some Compassion': Tenants Urge State Intervention as Evictions Ban Expires 

“The CDC moratorium doesn't address the more foundational background questions of, you know, what happens to the money that's owed, and are we going to figure out a way to avoid a person protected by the moratorium from being evicted immediately after it expires?” [GBLS attorney Joey] Michalakes said. “It doesn’t address those questions for the thousands of people who fell behind and haven’t done anything wrong.” 

Housing advocates like Michalakes have championed a housing equity bill that would prevent non-emergency evictions and foreclosures during the recovery period after the pandemic. The bill is currently before a legislative committee. 

“The bill would make all these resources work together,” Michalakes said, “so that a wave of housing instability doesn't complicate the end of the pandemic and more importantly, the economic recovery from the pandemic.” 

Please click here to read the WGBH story.


June 15, 2021

IRS launches child tax credit tool for low-income families. Community groups say it’s too hard to use. 

“The estimates of getting children out of poverty are premised on access,” [GBLS managing attorney Melanie] Malherbe said. “The instructions on the portal are very densely and confusingly written. It’s the opposite of simple.”

Please click here to read the Washington Post story.


June 2, 2021

Report: Nail salons, workers face steep climb in recovery 

Launched by Greater Boston Legal Services’ Asian Outreach Unit and Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, the 'From Our Own Voices' report sheds light on the unique experiences of Vietnamese nail salon workers in Massachusetts both before and during the pandemic. This report is a collection of findings from 52 qualitative interviews with workers from 2016-2020, survey responses from 51 workers and 15 owners during the pandemic, and informal stories from our community partners.  

Please click here to read the Dorchester reporter story. _________________________________________________________________

May 19, 2021

Faster reopening in Mass. heightens labor problems 

“'On a macro level, if the job that’s available is putting them in a worse place financially, I think that really speaks to the quality of jobs that an employer is looking to fill,' [GBLS attorney Hannah] Tanabe said. 'Workers may be reevaluating what their expectation is of wages and their workplace safety.'” 

Please click here to read the Biz Journals story


May 17, 2021 

Report: MA Should Open Earned Income Tax Credit to Working Immigrants 

"Luz Arevalo, senior attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services, said the [Earned Income Tax Credit] disparity has existed for decades, and the pandemic put another spotlight on it for many of her clients. 

'So many of these workers have the type of job that didn't stop, that didn't cease during the pandemic,' Arevalo explained." 

Please click here to read the Public News Service story.


May 5, 2021

As more states legalize marijuana, people with drug convictions want their records cleared 

"Pauline Quirion, director of the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) & Re-Entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services and an adviser to Mass CultivatED program participants, said she thinks it’s a good sign when she works with clients seeking to seal or expunge their records because it means they’re focused on securing a career. She said that the adverse effects of a criminal record are evident from their experiences with the job search process. 

'Some clients have applied for like 200 jobs and they’re rejected, but they keep applying,' she said. 'So you have to have a lot of stamina to find employment.'” 

Please click here to read the BPS story.


April 27, 2021

Return to school could jeopardize jobless benefits       

Monica Halas, lead staff attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services, said there are a lot of nuances to the pandemic unemployment assistance rules that would allow people at risk of losing the benefits to continue receiving them. She said even with schools reopening, some people could still claim the unemployment benefits 

"If they have a child who can't wear a mask, or if their immune system is compromised, or for some other reason they can't go to school they can still get benefits," she said. 

Please click here to read the Newbury Port News story.


April 19, 2021

A new Mass. women's prison may have disastrous consequences for poor and Black communities for decades, advocates say 

“[M]illions set aside for a new prison, and for incarcerating women at Framingham, should instead go toward supporting people in their communities with counseling, transitional and affordable housing, and job training.” 

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


March 29, 2021

State considering major expansion of child abuse reporting laws 

“'We’re going to say a parent who flees an abusive partner with a young child and is trying to find shelter and can’t find it that night is neglectful because they can’t afford a hotel room for one night and can’t find emergency shelter quickly enough?' [GBLS senior attorney Elizabeth] McIntyre asked. 'I don’t understand how that could possibly be in the interest of children.' McIntyre said a better system for dealing with poverty-related issues would be to steer the family toward resources for getting help, rather than getting [MA Department of Children and Families] involved, which carries the risk of a parent losing custody." 

Please click here to read the Commonwealth Magazine story.


March 21, 2021 

‘Afraid of taking the subway’: Atlanta murders raise safety concerns for Asian workers, businesses 

"Thao Ho, who works as a paralegal and community organizer [in GBLS' Asian Outreach Unit] to support nail salon workers in Massachusetts, said the industry is staffed mostly by Vietnamese immigrants, some of whom are undocumented.  

One salon worker who has been putting in longer hours to earn enough to get by during the pandemic told her she’s uneasy about traveling home later at night than she used to. 

'The day after the murders . . . she told me she was really afraid of taking the subway,' Ho said." 

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


March 9, 2021 

Details released on $75m emergency sick leave program 

"Elizabeth Whiteway, a senior attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, who has worked on [COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave] on behalf of the Coalition for Social Justice, said the policy is a way to recognize that there are gaps in existing sick leave laws and all workers need job-protected, paid time off to deal with the effects of COVID-19. 

Whiteway said it is a 'public health measure as well as a labor bill' because it will prevent low-wage workers who need the money from coming to work while sick, and potentially spreading COVID-19." 

Please click here to read the Commonwealth Magazine story.


March 7, 2021 

At Boston’s public exam schools, it’s equity vs. privilege 

”Asian Americans stand in solidarity with the Black and Latinx community in wanting to make sure that there are equitable outcomes and equitable access to public education in the city of Boston,” said Bethany Li of the Greater Boston Legal Services’ Asian outreach unit. 

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


February 16, 2021 

Coalition Backs New Early Education Access Bill 

"Once fully implemented, families earning less than half the statewide median income would be able to access early education and child care options for free, and families above that threshold would pay up to 7 percent of their total household income." 

Please click here to read the NBC Local paper story.


January 27, 2021 

SJC Chief Justice Kimberly Budd calls for increased civil legal aid funding for low-income residents 

"The proposed increase, [Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly] Budd said, is 'less than one dollar per Massachusetts resident. Or, as [the late SJC] Chief Justice [Ralph] Gants might have said, ‘It’s less than the cost of a soda at McDonald’s.’ Who would not spare an extra soda to extend legal aid to a single parent and children facing eviction, a veteran who needs help obtaining benefits, a senior struggling with debt suits, or a spouse seeking protection from domestic violence?'” 

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


January 8, 2021

Local organizations, Mayor’s office, respond to restoration of DACA 

“Despite the fact that it’s a temporary solution, DACA does provide work authorization for undocumented young people who qualify. That, ultimately, can be life changing,” said [Bethany Li, director of the Asian Outreach Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services]. “I’ve represented people who have gone from only being able to go to school one day a week, working thirteen hour shifts at take-out restaurants, to graduating from an Ivy League college, as a result of receiving DACA. Seeing how DACA has been able to help some undocumented young people, you can only imagine what it might mean to find a permanent solution for everyone.” 

Please click here to read the Sampan news story.


December 1, 2019

Draconian state child care assistance leaves too many working poor with debt, advocates say

Greater Boston Legal Services is petitioning the state Department of Early Education to revise its child care fee schedule and its policy of terminating parents who fall behind on payments.

“We know the second [a] child is terminated from early education, their life becomes exponentially more challenging. Work becomes a real challenge, and then food and rent become a real challenge.”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


November 20, 2019

Somerville Activists Seek to Combat Rampant Wage Theft

"[GBLS fellow attorney Ben Traslavina], who has been helping craft the language that would essentially replace the existing ordinance, noted that while it's difficult to prosecute employers, cities and towns have power.

'We do have, as a municipality, the power to decide what businesses can work in our community.' "

Please click here to read the Patch story.


October 3, 2019

'My Family Will Fight': One Cambodian Refugee's Check-In With ICE

" ‘I start from nothing to something. I have a home, two pets, a car, and a family. The American dreams. Even though I'm living with fear, I'm still making it work for my family," [GBLS client Saray Im] said. ‘I can't give up.' "

Please click here to read the WBUR story.


September 28, 2019

Asian American groups oppose Cambodian refugee deportations

" ‘In Massachusetts, the state with the nation’s second largest Cambodian community, at least 10 residents have received them' ", said Bethany Li, director of GBLS’ Asian Outreach Project.

Please click here to read the Associated Press story.


September 11, 2019

Massachusetts Considers Bills To Protect Homeowners From Punitive Tax Liens

" ‘No one’s ever told if your home is sold at tax foreclosure, you lose everything,’ said Todd Kaplan, GBLS Senior Attorney. ‘That's for most people inconceivable and counterintuitive. In a regular foreclosure when you have a mortgage, they sell your property and they give you back the balance.' "

Please click here to read the WGBH News story.


July 31, 2019

New Web Tool Aims To Help Mass. Eviction Defendants Without Lawyers

“The nonprofit Greater Boston Legal Services says it's now trying to “level the playing field” with the release of a web tool to help give legal guidance to people facing eviction.

‘It helps them with the very basics,’ said Quinten Steenhuis, an attorney at GBLS and creator of the online tool, ‘which is filling out paperwork that they can use to lay out their case and to explain to the judge, and to the other side, why they should not be evicted.’ ”

Please click here to read the WBUR story.

Please click here to read the Real Estate article.


July 23, 2019

Despite fears of raids, community advocates say now is the time for immigrants to step into Massachusetts courts

" ‘I think it’s important for people to know what their rights are, especially at this moment when people are so under attack, whether it’s for real or whether it’s rhetoric,’ said John Willshire Carrera, co-managing director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at GBLS."

Please click here to read the MassLive story.


July 16, 2019

Coalition working to significantly increase welfare benefits to ‘lift kids out of deep poverty’

“ 'Currently, families are trying to survive on only about one-third of the federal poverty level, and it just doesn’t add up no matter how carefully a parent tries to budget in a high-cost state like Massachusetts,' said Naomi Meyer, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services and a coalition leader."

Please click here to read the MassLive story.


July 9, 2019

Happy Lamb Hot Pot workers welcome wage complaint settlement

Represented by GBLS, fourteen former employees of Happy Lamb Hot Pot have settled their lawsuit, which sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for wage theft and other illegal practices, against the restaurant. "Wage theft violations are rampant in low-wage worker industries,” GBLS Senior Attorney Bethany Li said. “A lot of workers can feel like there’s no point and they’re scared. It’s incredible that, in this current climate, workers are willing to assert their rights to work in an environment that’s fair and safe.”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


June 12, 2019

DACA changes hit local residents hard

"Meg Moran, staff attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services, spoke of clients who were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the point where they endured psychological trauma just for fleeing persecution in their home countries. 'This administration is prioritizing all cases of people in detention,' Moran said. 'They’re often saying the reason they’re doing that is it’s people who have committed crimes, but what we’re seeing is it’s really just a more expeditious way of deporting people.' ”

Please click here to read the Bay State Banner story.


May 13, 2019

Mass. still has no clue how many people’s marijuana records should be cleared

“ ' Sometimes it feels like shoveling sand against the tide,’ said Pauline Quirion, lead attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, which helps seal the records of 600 to 800 low-income people each year. She estimated about 30 percent have marijuana records. ‘It’s the cycle of poverty — you have this record, and you’re trapped in poverty until you can eventually seal it.’ ”

Please click here to see the Boston Globe story.


April 25, 2019

Decades-old cap on welfare benefits for families is repealed

“ 'One hundred dollars a month can make the difference in whether struggling families can afford diapers, warm clothes, and other basic necessities for their kids,’ Naomi Meyer of Greater Boston Legal Services, said in a statement.”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


April 18, 2019

More Workers Are Suing Happy Lamb Hot Pot

“Attorneys representing the workers filed a supplemental complaint with the US District Court of Massachusetts, which includes the names of five additional workers, bringing the total number of plaintiffs suing Happy Lamb Hot Pot to 14... Greater Boston Legal Services represent the workers, who are mostly Chinese or Latino.”

Please click here to read the Eater Boston story.


April 13, 2019

End the energy supply scam now

Greater Boston Legal Services has filed a class-action lawsuit against SFE Energy Massachusetts (“SFE”) for allegedly using unfair and deceptive practices in their door-to-door sales to solicit and sign up Massachusetts families for their costly gas and electricity services. The suit alleges that SFE’s agents misrepresented themselves to potential customers as being associated with the customers’ then current electric and gas suppliers (such as Eversource and National Grid) and failed to properly disclose the costs and terms of their utility services in violation of public policy and Massachusetts regulations.

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article.


March 22, 2019

Protecting low-income tenants in the private rental market

"Each week, I meet with low-income Asian immigrants who come to our legal clinics in Chinatown to resolve legal issues. Legal issues with housing are among the most prevalent and pressing, particularly in light of widespread displacement and rising rent costs in immigrant neighborhoods including Chinatown, Quincy and Malden."

Please click here to read the Sampan article.


March 14, 2019

Deaths cited in settlement with nursing care facilities - Lowell Sun

“Attorney General Maura Healey and senior care advocates [announced] settlements with Beaumont and six nursing care facilities that include fines and quality improvement directives after a statewide investigation discovered failings that led to injuries, and patient deaths.

"The human toll that Synergy and other facilities imposed on their residents is unconscionable, as well as one their employees, and we are thankful for this resolution," said Wynn Gerhard, senior attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services.”

Please click here to read the Lowell Sun story.


March 13, 2019

Massachusetts House - again - votes to lift welfare family cap - MassLive

"The family cap is a failed policy that excludes a child based on when they’re born,” said Naomi Meyer, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services who has been advocating for lifting the cap. “Families really need to have all their children supported in order to be able to provide them with the things they need like diapers, clothing and (money) to do the laundry and take the bus and basic needs like that."

Please click here to read the story.


March 4, 2019

More families, elders have no place to call home - The Patriots Ledger

“Wynn Gerhard of Greater Boston Legal Services […] said her client load has exploded as local rent prices have soared. Many of her clients rely on Social Security or disability payments to get by, and those amounts don’t cover the cost of housing in the Quincy area, she said.
“It creates a real problem for people trying to stay in housing,” she said.”

Please click here to read the Patriots Ledger story.


March 2, 2019

Medford musician fights eviction from home of 70 years - Boston Globe

“The trouble began after Joe Lentino took a reverse mortgage in 2007 to get out from under his debt. Then he lost some gigs playing in jazz bands. And he started missing tax payments on the modest white house where he’s lived for about 70 years.

Now, the 80-year-old trombonist is embroiled in a legal nightmare, scrambling to get into senior housing before a Texas firm can foreclose on his mortgage.”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


November 17, 2018

Boston schools agree to change policies on suspensions—Boston Globe

“'We need to solve this problem and not just remove kids from school,' said Elizabeth McIntyre, an attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services, which represented the parents as part of its School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project…Parents who filed the lawsuit said Friday they hoped the agreement will result in students missing fewer days of classes and that procedures will be followed, including providing students and families their due-process rights for hearings when a suspension is recommended along with necessary information."

Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.


November 16, 2018

Proposed public charge rule causes fear incommunity, even though nothing has changed—Sampan

“I met Dong at the legal clinic that I staff each Tuesday morning at South Cove Community Health Center. Working in the Asian Outreach Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, I interact with low-income Asian immigrants on a daily basis. The newest issue raising fear and confusion in the Asian American community is the Trump administration’s proposal of a “public charge” regulation.

Please click here to read GBLS Paralegal Li Fan’s op-ed in Sampan.

Please click here to read GBLS’ statement regarding the public charge proposed rules. 


November 16, 2018

GBLS clients and Boston Public Schools reach settlement to end unlawful suspensions of youngest students and focus on alternatives for all students—Sampan, WBUR

GBLS clients and Boston Public Schools Interim Superintendent Laura Perille have signed a settlement agreement wherein BPS agrees to: 1) no longer suspend kindergartners, first graders, or second graders; 2) to suspend third, fourth, and fifth graders only for very serious offenses; and 3) agrees to create, in collaboration with community groups, professional development trainings designed to increase the use of non-exclusionary, alternative discipline. Please click here to read GBLS’ press release.

Please click here to read the Sampan story.
Please click here to read the WBUR story.


October 31, 2018

Workers sue Happy Lamb Hot Pot for hundreds of thousands in pervasive wage theft — Sampan

“Happy Lamb Hot Pot ignored wage and hour laws and even after workers complained, many violations continued,” said Ting Chiu, Staff Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. “These workers deserve the wages and tips that they have earned.”

Please click here to read the Sampan story.


October 29, 2018

Increases in public funding to legal aid providers protects tenants — Wicked Local Cambridge

Cambridge City Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui:  “Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS), a division of Greater Boston Legal Services, provides free legal services to low-income families and individuals...As a legal aid attorney myself, I understand how critical these services are to helping people stay in their homes, and why they’re a necessary component of our city’s housing plan.”

Please click here to read Councilor Siddiqui’s column in Wicked Local Cambridge.


April 25, 2018

Boston City Councilor wants to help residents repay back taxes — Metro US

"Today, too many elderly and low-income Boston residents face increasing property tax bills that they cannot afford," said GBLS Senior Attorney Todd Kaplan. "By offering these residents more flexible payment plans to pay their back taxes with the opportunity to reduce accrued interest, we can help homeowners get current on their taxes and take real steps to ensuring Boston is a city for people of all ages and income levels."

Please click here to read the Metro US story.


March 29, 2018

As ICE deports higher numbers of Asian immigrants, a Dorchester family is left without a mother — Spare Change News

“More people are being told to get their travel documents in order before heading to their ICE check-ins, particularly those in the Southeast Asian community,“ said GBLS Senior Attorney Bethany Li. “It’s hard to generalize and there’s no need to create lots of fear but people should go talk to a lawyer [if called in early]. This is true for immigrants generally, that everyone and anyone is a target and that’s certainly a widening of the policies previously used to consider who would be targeted for deportation. And Southeast Asians haven’t been targeted in this way maybe ever … it’s only last fall that people started questioning whether they would be able to continue to live here.”

Please click here to read the Spare Change News story.


March 29, 2018

Somerville aldermen hope to encourage affordability through right of first refusal — Tufts Daily

Trying to find affordable housing is one of the most difficult issues every Boston-area resident faces — and it's even more challenging if you want to buy a home. Somerville is trying to do something about it, as GBLS Senior Attorney Ellen Shachter explains.

Please click here to read the Tufts Daily story.


March 23, 2018

Repeal Sought for Child Welfare Cap — Boston Neighborhood Network News

GBLS Senior Attorney Naomi Meyer and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Senior Staff Attorney Deborah Harris explain the need to lift the child welfare cap in Massachusetts.

Please click here to watch Boston Neighborhood Network News interview by host Chris Lovett.


March 16, 2018

Welfare cap, disability services are focus of final Massachusetts state budget hearing — MassLive

"$100...means the difference between whether a mom can afford enough diapers to keep her baby clean and healthy, and the difference between whether she can afford bus fare to go to the supermarket and buy what her kids need," said Naomi Meyer, GBLS Senior Attorney, on the importance of lifting the financial assistance cap on struggling families.

Please click here to read the MassLive story<


March 15, 2018

Advocates Ask SJC to Block Immigration Arrests at Mass. Courthouses — WBUR

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are targeting courthouses in the state and arresting undocumented immigrants who are showing up for scheduled court dates.  [GBLS, the Committee for Public Counsel Services Immigration Impact Unit, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice] filed a petition in Supreme Judicial Court seeking an injunction against such arrests, saying the fear of deportation is preventing some immigrants who are in the country without documentation from showing up for court business.”

Please click here to read the WBUR story


February 5, 2018

Ministering To Puerto Rico's Pain:  Civil Legal Aid Lawyers Assisting Those Seeking Mass. Refuge — WGBH

GBLS Executive Director Jacquelynne Bowman and Mass. Legal Assistance Corporation Executive Director Lonnie Powers: “Five months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the situation on the island remains dire, and states throughout the nation have welcomed Puerto Rican refugees — who are U.S. citizens — to the mainland.”  “…These new residents will also require civil legal assistance.  Civil legal aid attorneys have long played a critical role in helping people recover from natural disasters.”

Please click here to read the WGBH opinion piece.


January 25, 2018

Gov. Charlie Baker's budget would let welfare recipients keep more benefits while working — MassLive

“Advocates for poor people say they have some concerns about what will happen to people after those six months are up.  Naomi Meyer, a senior attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, said if for example someone is working part time and their pay does not increase in the first six months,‘they're still going to need that supplemental bit of benefits for awhile longer.’

Please click here to read the MassLive story.


December 3, 2017

Protect low-wage workers from sexual harassment — Boston Globe

Evidence suggests sexual harassment of low-wage workers is pervasive, and they often feel unable to speak out. "The barriers to justice for these women are considerable. Many don’t speak English. Some fear being reported to immigration authorities if they complain. And the risk of job loss is particularly acute for the poor." GBLS Senior Attorney Audrey Richardson said, “[GBLS] could put a meaningful sexual harassment program in place with just a $300,000 annual budget — a tiny fraction of the state’s $40 billion in annual spending.”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe editorial.


December 2, 2017

Felony or misdemeanor?  Massachusetts may change larceny laws —

"The $250 threshold has been in effect in Massachusetts since 1987 and is low enough to make the theft of a winter coat, video game console or a pair of pricier sunglasses a felony, leaving a mark on a person’s record that could hinder employment options for years.
'With young people, they grow up poor and they make mistakes,' said Pauline Quirion, director of the CORI and Re-entry Project for Greater Boston Legal Services, and an advocate for the change."

Please click here to read the story.


November 29, 2017

How civil legal aid assists older adults — Huffington Post

“In Massachusetts and around the country, many legal services organizations have units dedicated exclusively to addressing the legal needs of the elder population.  For example, Greater Boston Legal Services’ (GBLS) Elder Abuse Prevention Project, in addition to providing direct services to elder clients, provides training for care providers, community members, and seniors to raise public awareness of the forms such abuse can take. GBLS is playing a role in assisting the increasing number of elders who are falling victim to abuse by opioid addicted family members, a side effect largely overlooked until recently."

Please click here to read the opinion piece in the Huffington Post.


October 18, 2017

State legislators produce sweeping criminal justice reform bill — Bay State Banner

The goal of the Massachusetts Senate's much-needed criminal justice reform bill is to reduce unnecessary incarceration.  “No one of us could imagine being unemployed for ten years,” said Pauline Quirion, director of GBLS' CORI and Re-entry Project.  “Studies show employers will not hire you with a CORI even for a dismissed case.”

Please click here to read the Bay State Banner article.


October 12, 2017

Mandatory sentences targeted in plan to change drug laws — Gloucester Times

Proposed criminal justice reforms by the Massachusetts legislature would help individuals with criminal records to get their lives back on track as well as keep more people out of prison. GBLS Lead Attorney Pauline Quirion, director of GBLS’ CORI and Re-Entry Project, said reducing the years it takes to seal a criminal record and lowering probation fees will help. "We have a system that supposed to allow people to move forward by sealing their cases, but the waits are simply too long," she said. "If you have that mark on your record, you can't get a job or housing, so you're not going to be able to move forward."

Please click here to read the Gloucester Times article.


September 25, 2017

Proposed law aims to protect low income residents from burdensome debt collection — WWLP-22 News

Dozens of people came to the State House for the Committee on Financial Services' public hearing on bills dealing with banking and debt settlement.

Please click here to read the WWLP-22 News story and listen to GBLS Consumer Rights Unit fellow attorney Matthew Brooks testifying in support of the bill.


July 25, 2017

South End Renters Hope Legal Fight Stops Eviction – The Boston Globe

GBLS is advising low-income Harrison Avenue tenants in the South End as they fight eviction following the sale of their building.”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


June 13, 2017

Experts worry criminal-records law violations aren’t being caught – Boston Globe

"Just 10 people or organizations in the past five years were found to have flouted the state law that regulates access to and use of personal criminal records, prompting concerns that companies are getting away with violations.

'It’s hard to believe it’s only just a few people a year that are violating the law,' known as the Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI, law, said Pauline Quirion, director of the CORI and Re-entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services."

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


March 7, 2017

Greater Boston Legal Services: Carrying on Boston’s Long-Held Tradition of Serving the Poor – Lawyers Clearinghouse

Take a look at this guest post written by Access to Justice Fellow John Carroll, who is working with The Equal Justice Coalition to compile a comprehensive history of civil legal aid organizations in Massachusetts. This fascinating piece details the creation and history of Greater Boston Legal Services.

Please click here to read the Lawyers Clearinghouse article


February 11, 2017

Lawmakers looking to lower prison recidivism 

Pauline Quirion, a lawyer and director of the criminal records sealing project at Greater Boston Legal Services, said reducing the number of years it takes to seal a criminal record and lowering probation fees will also help ex-convicts adjust to life on the outside.

“Asking someone who is indigent to pay $60 a month in probation fees, you may as well be asking them to pay $1 million,” she said. “They’re not going to be able to comply, and the sad thing is they will end up incarcerated again because they can’t pay it.”

Please click here to read the Gloucester Times article


February 5, 2017

Homeless Families Turn To Emergency Rooms For Shelter – WGBH News

"According to a complaint [GBLS] filed this January, one of the named plaintiffs, a mother of two girls, aged 7 and 9 and who is pregnant, was denied emergency assistance after the family was told they had to leave a friend’s house where they’d been staying. After spending the night sleeping on the floor of an un-named nonprofit, the complaint alleges, the family re-applied for state assistance.

'They still didn’t place her then, so the next night she went to the emergency room, having no other place to go, and stayed there,' says Ruth Bourquin a senior attorney at GBLS."

Please click here to read the WGBH News article


January 3, 2017

Prepare to dig in to preserve civil legal aid - Huffpost

"Civil legal aid is a powerful...tool that helps people living in poverty build a foundation of stability so they can create a better future for themselves, their families, and our communities. Any attempts to weaken or dismantle federal civil legal aid must be met with principled advocacy and resistance by the legal community, social justice activists, and civil rights organizations."

Please click here to read the Huffpost article


December 15, 2016

Baker administration accused of denying shelter to homeless mothers – The Boston Globe

Especially difficult to comprehend on frigid winter days like today. “Everybody agrees that it would be good to ensure that homeless families are in better placements than motels. But what’s happening is that they end up in places that are worse — not in shelter at all, or in far-flung places where their lives are further disrupted,” said Ruth A. Bourquin, one of the Greater Boston Legal Services lawyers who filed the suit. “It’s just getting to a real crisis point,” she said.

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


December 11, 2016

How many evictions are there in Boston? No one really knows. – Boston Globe

Some tenant advocates were among those arguing against the court’s giving out bulk data in recent hearings on public access.

Mac McCreight, lead attorney for housing at Greater Boston Legal Services, which represents renters who face eviction, cautioned that aggregated court data is not always accurate or up-to-date. Moreover he worries some landlords might use it to “blacklist” tenants who have had a case filed against them, even if the eviction never wound up happening.

“Someone looking at an online system might make conclusions that are not accurate,” McCreight said. “And we hear reports about landlords who’ll say, ‘If I see someone’s name on the list, that’s it. I’m not going to rent to them.’ ”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


October 31, 2016

Precedent-Setting Win for Low-Income Tenants Creates 59 Affordable Housing Units in Boston – Yahoo! Finance

Affordable Housing Victory Achieved in Boston

A coalition including GBLS, City Life/Vida Urbana, pro bono law firms Goulston & Storrs, Jones Day, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, the Department of Neighborhood Development, CEDAC, and the Boston Public Health Commission not only saved 59 families from being displaced from their homes, but also created 59 new permanently-affordable housing units in Dorchester and Mattapan. Through the sale of properties at Orlando and Waldeck streets from the bankrupt landlord to the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, the tenants are no longer at risk of displacement and homelessness and the affordable units have been preserved for the future.

Please click here to read the Yahoo! Finance article.


October 28, 2016

Mismanaged Dorchester, Mattapan properties secured as affordable housing through non-profit purchase – Dorchester Reporter

Please click here to read the Dorchester Reporter article.


October 28, 2016

Bankruptcy sale of five buildings preserves home for tenants - Boston Herald

Please click here to read the Boston Herald article


July 28, 2016

Dorchester, Mattapan tenants have had it with landlord who lets them live in squalor - Dorchester Reporter

These tenants have been living in deplorable conditions including “[m]ice and cockroach infestation, pervasive mold caused by leaks, no heat in the winter, no electricity, jammed doors, open gasoline canisters”. The landlord has failed to maintain his properties and is now in bankruptcy proceedings, which puts them at risk of eviction with no place to go because of the lack of affordable housing in Greater Boston. GBLS is representing them with the pro bono assistance of GBLS board member Andrew Troop of Pillsbury and John Hanify of supporting law firm Jones Day.

Please click here to read the August 3, 2016 Dorchester Reporter article


July 14, 2016

Advocates rip cuts in disability funding - the Boston Herald

Funding cuts by Governor Baker for poor people with disabilities, if not overidden by the Legislature, will have a devastating effect on thousands of vulnerable families across Massachusetts. GBLS attorney Sarah Levy and her client, a grandmother caring for her disabled granddaughter, are quoted in today's Boston Herald article.
"We're terribly worried because in our experience, SSI isn’t enough to meet the needs of a person who is disabled let alone subsidize the needs of the family,” said Attorney Levy.

Please click here to read the July 14, 2016 Boston Herald article


July 1, 2016

Advocates mystified as proposal to tighten nursing home oversight killed - the Boston Globe

“It’s a slap in the face to vulnerable nursing home residents and their families, and advocates,” said Wynn Gerhard, GBLS elder law Senior Attorney, after state lawmakers rejected a proposal to substantially raise maximum fines on troubled nursing homes.

Please click here to read the July 1, 2016 Boston Globe article


June 30, 2016

'Pam family scams' spawning new revelations - the Boston Globe

An update to the circumstances surrounding the Globe investigation we posted on June 12, 2016 - "Making it Big, the Pam Family Way"

Please click here to read the June 30, 2016 Boston Globe article


June 29, 2016

State calls out 5 Boston schools for disparate & excessive suspensions - the Bay State Banner

As to the intangible consequences of these suspensions, GBLS fellow attorney Elizabeth McIntyre says, “Kids start to label themselves as ‘problems,’ as kids where school is not going to be a thing that they’re good at.”

Please click here to read the June 29, 2016 The Bay State Banner article


June 12, 2016

Making it big, the Pam family way - the Boston Globe

Senior Attorney and Elder Law specialist Betsey Crimmins speaks to The Boston Globe in the first part of an article in the paper.

Please click here to read the June 12, 2016 Boston Globe article


June 8, 2016

Spaulding Rehab Network plan to close 2 nursing homes - the Boston Globe

"Spaulding believes it is not subject to a mandatory public hearing because the North End facility is being transferred, not closed," but GBLS senior attorney Wynn Gerhard disagrees, commenting that the nursing home closings "should be subject to mandatory public hearings."

Please click here to read the June 8, 2016 Boston Globe article


June 1, 2016

When Legal Assistance Can Imporve Health - the Huffington Post

Lonnie Powers, Executive Director of the Mass. Legal Assistance Corporation, writes in the Huffington Post about the significant impact of legal assistance, including medical-legal partnerships, on public health. He references GBLS' two victories "that enhance the health, safety, and independence of disabled people."

Please click here to read the June 1, 2016 The Huffington Post article


April 28, 2016

Boston gets fed grant to help young ex-cons find ‘road to redemption’ - the Boston Herald

GBLS is excited to be sharing a federal grant with the Boston Housing Authority that will help us to assist young people seeking affordable housing and jobs after having been involved with the justice system. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Justice who funds the Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program and to partner the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for their support on this important program. We look forward to working with the BHA to help juveniles as they embark on a fresh new start!

Please click here to read the April 28, 2016 Boston Herald article


April 10, 2016

Evictions rise as Boston gentrifies – the Boston Globe

"In a place like East Boston, it’s not uncommon for a landlord to raise the rent three or four times in a single year”, says Matt Nickell, a GBLS attorney Fellow, about the "epidemic" of evictions and displacement among lower-income Boston residents.

Please click here to read the April 10, 2016 Boston Globe article


April 7, 2016

School suspension numbers causing concern for parents, city council – Fox 25 news

Elizabeth McIntyre, who initiated the School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project at GBLS, described the distress and frustration of parents in this interview. Liz McIntyre is an Equal Justice Works Fellow Attorney, sponsored by WilmerHale and Staples.

Please click here to read the April 8, 2016 Fox 25 article


March 20, 2016

Should all voter addresses by publicly listed? – the Boston Globe

“We shouldn’t live in a society where survivors of domestic and sexual violence are forced to avoid voting for their physical safety,” said Valenda Applegarth, a senior attorney and director of Relocation Counseling Project at Greater Boston Legal Services.

Please click here to read the March 20, 1016 Boston Globe article.


March 9, 2016

In Mass., small theft is big crime, and lawmakers notice – the Boston Globe

“If you have a felony on your criminal record, it makes a big difference for applying for jobs: You probably won’t be hired. That conviction is going to create barriers for all kinds of opportunities,” said Pauline Quirion, director of the criminal records sealing project at Greater Boston Legal Services. “A young person who swiped some expensive sunglasses, more than $250? Felon. It makes felons out of people who have committed only minor offenses.”

Please click here to read the March 9, 2016 Boston Globe article


March 9, 2016

What Discipline Looks Like at a Boston School with 325 Suspensions - Learning Lab

This story about public school suspensions of very young students features interviews with GBLS attorney Fellow Elizabeth McIntyre and her client Jayden, 8, who was continually disciplined for behavior attributable to trauma-related disabilities.

Please click here to read the March 9, 2016 Learning Lab article 


March 4, 2016

Bunker Hill Tenant Task Force Retains GBLS - Charlestown Patriot-Bridge

Bunker Hill Tenant Task Force voted unanimously to retain Greater Boston Legal

Services (GBLS) to represent them and the residents of Bunker Hill during the ongoing effort to revitalize the public housing community into a mixed-income community. 

Please click here to read the Charlestwon Patriot-Bridge article


February 14, 2016

In East Boston, pinched between progress and pain - The Boston Globe

Read about the work of East Boston residents together with City Life/Vida Urbana and GBLS attorneys Matt Nickell and Lauren Song to stabilize their neighborhood amid dramatic upheaval.

Please click here to read the February 14, 2016 Boston Globe article


February 11, 2016

State officials move to tighten oversight of nursing homes - The Boston Globe

Great news for nursing home residents! A coalition of advocates, including GBLS Senior Attorney Wynn Gerhard, for years have been advocating for improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for Mass. nursing home residents

Please click here to read the February 11, 2016 Boston Globe article 


February 10, 2016

Victims in TelexFree pyramid scheme can expect some money back, bankruptcy official says -

Consumer Rights Unit Managing Attorney Nadine Cohen - quoted in the article - has been working with the Chelsea Collaborative and the Brazilian Workers Group to assist the victims of this scam in filing claims against TelexFree.

Please click here to read the February 10, 2016 article 


February 3, 2016

Mass. Had Hundreds Of Suspensions Last Year — In Kindergarten And Pre-K - Learning Lab

WBUR 90.9 FM's compelling story about the suspensions of low-income pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, particularly those with trauma histories, highlights the story of a young GBLS client. Dashon is represented by Elizabeth McIntyre, an Equal Justice Works attorney Fellow who staffs GBLS' School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project.

Please click here to read the February 3, 2016 LearningLab article


September 6, 2015

For some domestic workers, a life of isolated servitude - The Boston Globe

Some domestic workers are subjected to mistreatment, underpaid or not paid at all, and kept in social isolation by unscrupulous employers. Abuses by employers often go unchecked; many workers are “too fearful to confront their employers or go to the authorities”, according to a Boston Globe article. In Massachusetts, protections have been in place since July 2014 when the Domestic Workers Bill Rights was signed into law after advocacy efforts by GBLS, on behalf of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, and several other organizations. Lydia Edwards, now a Fellow in GBLS’ Employment Unit, was one of the advocates who worked to get the bill passed and she continues to represent domestic workers whose rights were violated. She is quoted in the article: “What’s to stop employers from just perpetually bringing someone over here and not paying them at all, or paying them very little?” “And saying, ‘Well, if you don’t like it, go back to Brazil.’”

Please click here to read the September 6, 2015 Boston Globe story.


May 27, 2015

Massachusetts comp bill would assist lowest-paid workers - Business InsuranceThe Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing on a bill that would improve access to medical care and increase benefits for injured workers. For some employees, workers comp "is their only lifeline," said Greater Boston Legal Services Senior Attorney Brian Flynn during the hearing. According to Senator James Eldridge, who filed the bill, “The hearing provided a valuable opportunity to listen to various perspectives on the need for continued investment in workers compensation benefits".

Please click here to read the May 27, 2015 Business Insurance article.


May 8, 2015

Revere attorney allegedly discriminated against Latino homeowners - The Boston Globe

Represented by GBLS Managing Attorney Nadine Cohen, seventeen Latino homeowners who paid money to an attorney for loan modifications they never received won a discrimination case at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The support of the Chelsea Collaborative, a community organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in the Chelsea community, was invaluable in achieving justice for these homeowners who were awarded compensatory and emotional distress damages.

Please click here to read the May 8, 2015 Boston Globe article.


April 1, 2015

Mass.Lead on protecting rights for domestic workers - The Boston GlobeA new law that affords basic labor protections to Massachusetts domestic workers went into effect in April 2015. GBLS' Employment Law Unit represented its client the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers in a successful campaign that led to this achievement, working in collaboration with the campaign co-founders, the Executive Directors of the Brazilian Immigrant Center, Matahari Eye of the Day, the Dominican Development Center, and the Brazilian Women’s Group, and campaign coordinator Lydia Edwards, a GBLS Equal Justice Works Fellow since fall 2014.

Please click here to read the related April 1, 2015 Boston Globe article.


February 9, 2015

Dementia care lacks oversight in Mass., data show - The Boston Globe

Vulnerable patients with dementia in nursing homes are not receiving the protections and care they need, and new rules intended to remedy this don't appear to be working. GBLS Elder, Health and Disability Unit Senior Attorney Wynn Gerhard is quoted in a Boston Globe article saying, “Any deception about that, whether it’s intentional or not, is a violation of consumer protection laws.”  

Please click here to read the February 9, 2015 Boston Globe article.


December 17, 2014

GBLS attorney and local community groups help hundreds of low-income scam victims in TelexFree case - The Boston Globe

Nadine Cohen, Managing Attorney of GBLS’ Consumer Rights Unit, along with the Chelsea Collaborative, the Brazilian Women’s Group, and the Brazilian Workers Group, have been helping over 1,500 low-income people defrauded in a scam by bankrupt TelexFree, Inc. GBLS and the community groups are providing the victims with information on the bankruptcy case and assisting them to file claims with the Bankruptcy Court and the Secretary of State. They have been working with Stephen Darr, the bankruptcy Trustee responsible for distribution claims payments. These Boston-area claimants are among over 2.1 million people worldwide who made small investments in the company after being promised generous returns that never materialized. It is estimated that all the victims are owed over $1 billion.

Please click here to read the related December 17, 2014 Boston Globe article


November 12, 2014

GBLS Elder Abuse Prevention Project attorney is featured speaker at forum highlighting elder abuse - Needham Times

Senior Attorney Betsey Crimmins of GBLS’ Elder Abuse Prevention Project spoke at a recent forum led by Olin College Professor Caitrin Lynch. Elder abuse "... can happen to anyone who is vulnerable, especially those with mental health issues,” Attorney Crimmins said. "We know, for example, that 90 percent of elder abuse victims know their perpetrators – it’s their family, friends, neighbors, caretakers.”

Please click here to read the November 12, 2014 Needham Times article.


November 3, 2014

Boston City Council considering increase to relocation fees property owners must pay to displaced renters - Boston Herald

Mac McCreight, GBLS Housing Unit lead attorney, was quoted in a Boston Herald article regarding Boston City Council's upcoming debate about doubling the relocation fees that property owners are required to pay displaced renters whose units are being converted to high-priced condos or cooperatives. The intent of the proposed revisions to the city ordinance is to prevent displacement of low-income, disabled, and elderly tenants and help to mitigate the affordable housing crisis. GBLS’ Housing Unit worked on the proposed revisions with Boston city councilors including Josh Zakim, who formerly assisted clients with housing issues as an attorney in GBLS’ Consumer Rights Unit.

Please click here to read the November 3, 2014  Boston Herald article.


October 15, 2014

Thousands of civil legal cases go undefended due to lack of funding - The Boston Globe

A statewide task force found that nearly two thirds of low-income Massachusetts residents seeking legal assistance with civil (noncriminal) matters were turned away in the last year due to a lack of funding for legal aid. Thousands of residents facing domestic violence, eviction, or foreclosure, or dealing with a range of other legal matters including employment and consumer issues, go unrepresented as legal aid organizations struggle with the impact of funding cuts caused by the economic downturn.

Please click here to read the related October 15, 2014 Boston Globe article.


September 29, 2014

GBLS and Chelsea Collaborative receive generous gift

Unaccompanied children fleeing gang-related violence will benefit - Chelsea Record

Immigration and higher education advocate Robert Hildreth has made a $40,000 gift to Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) and the Chelsea Collaborative to assist unaccompanied immigrant children now living in Chelsea, Mass. The majority of these children fled gang violence in Central America over the last two years, and some are seeking to reunite with their parents already in the U.S.

This very generous gift will support legal services, sheltering, and feeding the estimated 600 unaccompanied minors who traveled across the U.S. border and ended up in Chelsea. Mr. Hildreth called on others to also support these efforts.

Please click here to read the related September 29, 2014 Chelsea Record article.


September 7, 2014

GBLS Immigration Unit attorneys achieve legal victory for victim of persecution and asylum seeker - The Boston Globe

On July 23, 2014, GBLS Immigration Unit Managing Attorney Nancy Kelly and Lead Attorney John Willshire Carrera, co-managing directors of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinic at GBLS, achieved a groundbreaking victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on behalf of a Mayan client who had fled persecution in his native Guatemala. The client, a Mayan Quiche man, was one of the workers detained in the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on the Michael Bianco factory in New Bedford, Mass. in March 2007. He was one of more than 200 people flown to detention facilities in Texas, without the opportunity to consult legal counsel, in the days following the raid. A team of GBLS attorneys traveled to Texas and found the client, almost completely deaf and unable to fully communicate in either English or Spanish, having waived his legal rights and been ordered deported without legal representation.

With the assistance of attorney Harvey Kaplan acting in a pro bono capacity, GBLS attorneys were able to reopen the client’s case and conduct a full asylum hearing. Represented by John, the client presented evidence documenting the genocide against the Mayan communities of Guatemala during the country’s civil war, the attacks against his own Mayan village and family, the fact that, at the age of 5 or 6, he was rendered almost completely deaf as a result of government bombing of his village, and the ongoing racial mistreatment he suffered as a Mayan in Guatemala.  

After more than seven challenging years representing this client in his asylum case, during which he was denied asylum by both the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals, Nancy and John obtained a positive First Circuit asylum decision that explicitly addresses genocidal military policies historically targeted against the indigenous people of Guatemala, and recognizes that harm to an indigenous man when he was a child during the Guatemalan genocide can constitute persecution on account of race and therefore a basis for asylum. The case specifically acknowledges the significance of harm inflicted on a child, the long-lasting effects of that harm, and that persecution must be analyzed in a context which views harm through the perspective of the child.

Please click here to read the related September 7, 2014 Boston Globe column.

To read the July 23, 2014 First Circuit decision, please click here.


July 15, 2014

On July 15, 2014 in Boston’s Chinatown, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law House Bill 4089, “An Act Relative to the Preparation of Certain Bilingual Ballots in the City of Boston.” The law permanently mandates that Chinese and Vietnamese ballots be available for all elections in the City of Boston. GBLS’ Asian Outreach Unit (AOU) along with a coalition of community organizations including the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) and Chinatown Resident Association (CRA) worked for years to implement and maintain bilingual ballots.

Click here for full story


August 2, 2014

Immigration Unit attorneys’ 12-year fight for asylum for young Guatemalan victim of persecution featured in Associated Press article

For 12 years, John Willshire Carrera and Nancy Kelly, GBLS attorneys and co-managing directors of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinic at GBLS, have represented a young Guatemalan in his asylum case. Celvyn Mejia Romero fled his country at the age of 10 after being violently attacked and enduring death threats on account of his resistance to gang recruitment and his family’s background and political beliefs. His uncle and step-grandfather were murdered. He fled for his life, seeking to rejoin his mother in the U.S. where she had fled to escape an abusive relationship, 

At thirteen Celvyn testified at a merits hearing before the Immigration Court. The Immigration Judge denied the boy’s claim. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upheld the Immigration Judge’s decision, and, in April 2010, a First Circuit panel denied the boy’s petition for review. In a petition for rehearing en banc* filed in June 2010, Nancy and John urged the First Circuit to vacate the panel decision, arguing that the BIA, the Immigration Judge, and First Circuit panel had committed legal error by failing to afford child-sensitive treatment to the petitioner’s claim. In August 2010, the First Circuit panel reversed its original decision, vacated the lower decision, and remanded the case to the BIA for reconsideration using child-sensitive techniques and standards. At the time, Nancy Kelly stated, “For Celvyn, the Court’s decision means that his claim has finally been heard and that, after many years, he has real reason to believe that he will not be returned to the hands of his persecutors. For the other children we all represent, we believe that this decision will open the door to the development of clear child-sensitive jurisprudence in the First Circuit.” The case has since been remanded to the Immigration Court and then to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Office, where a final decision remains pending.

Please click here to read the August 2, 2014 Associated Press article about Celvyn’s case that has been printed or posted online by at least 8 U.S. media outlets, including the Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report.


July 2, 2014

On July 2, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Senate 2132, A Bill Establishing the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. This is a huge victory for Massachusetts domestic workers, who are now afforded basic labor protections. The signing was an emotional one for the many domestic workers who were there with their children and in some cases, with the children they care for. This achievement is due to the campaign efforts of GBLS Employment Law Unit Lead Attorney Monica Halas on behalf of her client, Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers (MCDW), and campaign cofounders Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center and GBLS Board Member, Monique Nguyen, Executive Director of Matahari, Magalis Troncoso, Executive Director of the Dominican Development Center and GBLS Board Member, Heloisa Galvao, Executive Director of the Brazilian Women’s Group, and campaign coordinator Lydia Edwards who joined GBLS as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in fall 2014.

Click here for full story


October 1, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) has resolved a major wage and hour case in which Greater Boston Legal Services and the Chelsea Collaborative, a local grassroots community organizing agency, worked closely with the underpaid Boston-area workers. The case involved the payment of significant back wages and damages, including compensation for retaliation. GBLS and the Chelsea Collaborative gathered evidence and assisted the USDOL in its investigation and litigation.

Click here to read the Boston Globe article. 

Click here to read the Chelsea Record article.


August 25, 2013

Status of Medicare patients can result in huge bills.  Elderly patients hospitalized but not 'admitted' can face higher costs.

By: Liz Kowakzyk, Globe Staff

LS Medicare Advocacy Project (MAP) clients and Senior Attorney Diane Paulson were interviewed for a Boston Sunday Globe front page article on a very costly problem for more and more Medicare beneficiaries. The article addresses the plight of beneficiaries who are hospitalized under “observation status” and who must pay thousands if they need follow-up care in a skilled facility because “observation” does not fulfill the Medicare prerequisite of three days hospital admission.

Click here for full story.


January 26, 2012

Civil Legal Aid Is a Sound Investment For All Of Us

By: Yvonne Abraham, Boston Globe Columnist

Sometimes, the world puts you in a situation so unfair, so absurd, that only a lawyer can get you out of it. But what if you can’t afford a lawyer? People who can’t pay an attorney have a right to a public defender when they face criminal charges.

Click here for full story.


November 1, 2011

Chief Justice Marshall Issues Call for More Resources to Represent the Most Vulnerable

In an op-ed piece published in The Boston Globe on October 29, 2011 Margaret H. Marshall, the retired Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, underscored the urgent need for more resources for legal aid lawyers to represent poor residents in civil matters. “The Chief Justice’s eloquence on behalf of indigent clients and the Massachusetts legal aid organizations that represent them cannot be underestimated, and we are very grateful for her advocacy,” said Jacqui Bowman, Executive Director of GBLS.

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