In the News

December 24, 2023  

Clemency was a political third rail for decades. Healey and other governors are starting to embrace it 

“We’re at an important crossroads,” said Pauline Quirion, director of the CORI and Reentry project at Greater Boston Legal Services and the co-chair of a Massachusetts Bar Association task force that recommended a clemency overhaul in 2021. Part of measuring Healey, she said, will include “whether or not people get commutations, as well as the pardons.” 

Please click here to read the full Boston Globe story. 

_________________________________________________________________

December 20, 2023  

Food assistance program for immigrants extended 

"While advocates celebrated the new expansion…questions remain about how much impact $6 million can have. 'What we don’t know yet is exactly what the numbers will be and how long that money will last,' [GBLS welfare law attorney Naomi] Meyer said." 

Please click here to read the full Bay State Banner story. 

_________________________________________________________________

December 15, 2023 

Mass. should ban evictions during the winter months 

"[At GBLS] we regularly see eviction cases for minor issues such as leaving a tap to drip so that a pet can get fresh water, or for using a portable washing machine when the nearest laundromat is inaccessible due to handicap or travel distance. During winter, there should be a moratorium on 'cause' cases where the tenants’ alleged 'lease violation' does not present a serious risk of harm to the landlord, their property, or other residents." 

Please click here to read the full opinion in CommonWealth Magazine

_________________________________________________________________

December 16, 2023 

Blaming homeless families 

"…Elizabeth Alfred, a heroic housing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, had been working on the family’s case for weeks. She was trying to get the emergency shelter denial reversed, arguing the family was not at fault in their eviction." 

Please click here to read the full Boston Globe story

_________________________________________________________________

December 11, 2023 

'Pretty bleak': Waitlist for family shelter tops 200 households after first month 

" 'We’ve had some clients who came to us and have been staying outside,' [GBLS housing attorney Liz] Alfred said. 'We're in really uncharted waters.' " 

Please click here to read the full WBUR story

_________________________________________________________________

December 11, 2023 

A local retired educator is taking his crusade against online scams to 150,000 followers 

"Sarah Perlman, a consumer rights attorney for the nonprofit Greater Boston Legal Services, says anybody with an online presence, including even just an email address, can fall victim to online fraud." 

Please click here to read the full GBH story

_________________________________________________________________

December 9, 2023 

When rock bottom isn’t low enough 

"Together, [two GBLS attorneys] have spent some 13 hours so far gathering up voluminous evidence to prove Buckley’s claims and dealing with housing authorities on her behalf. 

It shouldn’t take that much legal firepower, or that many hours, for a homeless family with no other options to get relief in this state. And that family shouldn’t have to rob tomorrow to qualify for help today." 

Please click here to read the full Boston Globe story

_________________________________________________________________

December 6, 2023 

Pro bono legal aid now available to Women’s Lunch Place guests 

" 'Because Nayab’s clinic…is every week, women know that they can reach her there,' said Laticia Walker-Simpson, a managing senior attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services who oversees Ajaz’s work at the shelter. 'If they can’t make it to our office, or they can’t make it somewhere else, we know that they’re going to be at Women’s Lunch Place every week. We can meet them where they’re at.' " 

Please click here to read the full Bay State Banner story

_________________________________________________________________

November 20, 2023 

Families struggle as Mass. shelter waitlist grows 

GBLS senior paralegal Adam Hoole on his work trying to find safe places to stay for families who are on the emergency shelter waitlist: “I'm really struggling to get anyone to pay attention to them.” 

Please click here to read the full WBUR story

_________________________________________________________________

November 10, 2023  

Innovative partnership ensures lawyer for women in crisis 

“An innovative program staffed by Greater Boston Legal Services is ensuring that guests at a Boston women’s shelter have a lawyer they can call on in times of crisis. 

Since February, GBLS attorney Nayab R. Ajaz has been on hand to help resolve the sometimes-complex legal issues facing clients at the Women’s Lunch Place. It’s work she loves but also finds ‘heartbreaking’ at times.” 

Please click here to read the full Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly story

_________________________________________________________________

November 9, 2023 

Number of homeless and migrant families in Massachusetts shelters hits state’s limit, officials say 

“ ‘The timing is so stark,’ said Laura Massie, of Greater Boston Legal Services. “The weather has just gotten cold, and now is when we are imposing this cap and making families continue to stay in unsafe situations…We are very concerned about the safety of these kids.’ ” 

Please click here to read the full Boston Globe story

_________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2023  

Mass. House OKs $2.7B spending bill that requires launching overflow shelter site in 30 days 

"Elizabeth Alfred, an emergency assistance shelter attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services, told MassLive that she was 'really thrilled' to see the House adopt these measures in their new bill. She added that she is 'a little concerned about what happens when people are waitlisted and don’t have a place to go before those places are set up.' " 

Please click here to read the full MassLive story

_________________________________________________________________

November 2, 2023 

With cap looming, ‘hard calls’ confront Mass. on shelter system, Mass. Gov. Healey says 

“[GBLS senior paralegal Adam Hoole] said he was ‘disappointed’ in Healey’s decision [and] ‘that the move will lead to unhoused families sleeping in their cars, on the streets or staying longer in situations of domestic abuse.’ 

‘These are all very serious and unhealthy situations for families that would normally entitle them to shelter,’ he said. ‘So, it’s disappointing for the Administration to real-back that right and impose a cap.’ “ 

Please click here to read the full MassLive story

_________________________________________________________________

November 1, 2023 

Healey unveils new executive clemency guidelines 

“[GBLS Lead Attorney] Pauline Quirion, co-chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Clemency Task Force, was among those who praised Healey for issuing the guidelines.  

She said it will 'modernize and revitalize clemency, and inject a new focus on justice, racial equality, correction of systemic injustices and creating possibilities for hope and transformation rather than politics or business as usual.' " 

Please click here to read the full Salem News story

_________________________________________________________________

November 1, 2023 

Judge rejects effort to halt waitlist for families seeking emergency shelter 

Adam Hoole, a senior paralegal at Greater Boston Legal Services, said the move to a waitlist, and a related move to limit how long families can stay in the shelter system, feel like adding "cruelty on cruelty," and making life "as hard as possible for families that are in the most dire situations." 

Please click here to read the full WBUR story. 

_________________________________________________________________

October 31, 2023 

Judge to rule Wednesday on halting Healey’s shelter cap for homeless families 

“Under Healey’s announced plan, families would be triaged to prioritize them by need and placed on a waitlist once the state is sheltering 7,500 families. Elizabeth Alfred, a housing attorney for the Greater Boston Legal Services, said that is unacceptable.  

“…It means we have no shelter for you at all. We have no help for you at all. There is no place for you to go from the state. There's nothing we can do for you.’ 

Alfred said that Greater Boston Legal Services and others will fight to house those who need it.” 

Please click here to read the full GBH story. 

_________________________________________________________________

October 31, 2023 

State officials take emergency steps to limit the Mass. family shelter system 

“Officials said the emergency regulations would allow them to create a waitlist for families seeking emergency housing [and] limit how long families can stay in the shelter system… ‘This is completely unprecedented,’ said Liz Alfred, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be a nightmare for families.’ ” 

Please click here to read the full WBUR story. 

_________________________________________________________________

October 27, 2023

Help people with disabilities live in the community

Settlement negotiations have begun in the federal court class action lawsuit GBLS, the Center for Public Representation, Justice in Aging, and Foley Hoag LLP filed in October 2022 on behalf of older adults, people with serious mental illness, and people with physical disabilities unnecessarily segregated in nursing home institutional settings who could be discharged into community settings, with supportive services. After more than two years of discussions with state officials since the lawsuit was filed, the state agreed to begin settlement negotiations with the assistance of a federal mediator.

Please click here to read the Globe editorial.

_________________________________________________________________

October 24, 2023 

Lawmakers, advocates propose changes to Mass. paid leave law to increase access 

"When you need it — this benefit — there's a sense of urgency," Rice said. "There's a health crisis that's happening and to put it on the employee to recall something HR may have six months, one year, two years ago, is a lot." 

Please click here to read the full WBUR story.  

_________________________________________________________________

October 17, 2023 

Mass. soon will end its housing guarantee for families in state shelter system 

"Elizabeth Alfred, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, said it’s easy to know what will happen to those families by looking at people deemed ineligible for shelter placements under the current system. 

'They stay in places that are unheated or they stay in cars or they stay outside or they stay in abusive situations,' said Alfred. 'I think we'll see more families having to stay in places that are not safe for them.’ ” 

Please click here to read the full WBUR story.  

_________________________________________________________________

October 16, 2023 

Some fixes needed for Paid Family and Medical Leave 

"[E]veryone can help make paid family and medical leave a success. If you work in the healthcare field, you can ask patients if they’ve applied and help them find the application forms online. If you’re a neighbor or coworker of someone taking leave, you can spread the word and offer your color printer to help them get the right documents submitted. If you own or manage a business, you can make sure your company is compliant and ask your employees requesting leave if they need help." 

Please click here to read the full Commonwealth Magazine opinion piece by Deb Fastino, the executive director of the Coalition for Social Justice (a GBLS client), and David McKenna, GBLS employment law staff attorney

_________________________________________________________________ 

September 28, 2023 

Advocates urge expungement access for survivors, victims 

"Ashleigh Pelto, human trafficking fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services’ CORI and Re-Entry Project: '[I]t is imperative that criminal record release statutes include all types and levels of offenses, because survivors are not all victimized or charged in the same way.'" 

Please click here to read the full WWLP story.

_________________________________________________________________

September 17, 2023 

Reckoning looms over ‘home equity theft’ 

“Carmen Rodriguez sued Worcester and Tallage after they foreclosed on her home over about $2,600 in tax debt, leading to the sale of her home worth about $300,000, only about $4,000 of which went to the city. Tallage agreed this year to dismiss Rodriguez’s eviction and vacate the tax foreclosure that was before the land court, said Greater Boston Legal Services senior attorney Todd Kaplan.” 

Please click here to read the full Commonwealth Magazine story. 

_________________________________________________________________

September 12, 2023 

Inflation saps impact of cash aid to poor 

“ ‘The grants have not been adjusted for inflation — it’s not built into the law — and so they have just lost value, more than half their value in the last 30 years,’ [Naomi] Meyer, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, told the News Service.” 

Please click here to read the full WWLP story. 

_________________________________________________________________

September 5, 2023 

As students return to classrooms, some newly arrived immigrants have to wait 

“ ‘They should not wait,’ said Elizabeth Alfred, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services who focuses on the shelter system. ‘Being in a hotel is not indicative that it will be a short stay.’ " 

Please click here to read the full WBUR article. 

_________________________________________________________________

August 21, 2023 

State places homeless families in unstaffed sites, raising safety concerns 

"Adam Hoole, a senior paralegal at Greater Boston Legal Services, said he gets calls several times a week about problems at unstaffed shelter units. 'I had an organization call me about two weeks ago, and at that time, they were telling me about 10 families that had no access to food,' he said. Advocates later learned that food was available, but the families were unaware due to language barriers. 'The families just didn't have anyone to talk to, to know where to go,' Hoole said." 

Please click here to read the full WBUR article

_________________________________________________________________

August 20, 2023 

I’m being evicted from $300k home of 26 years despite paying off mortgage – city sold it from under me over $3k tax debt 

GBLS senior attorney Todd Kaplan: "[Tax foreclosure is] a process that doesn't make any sense. And it's a process that is targeting people that are especially vulnerable. 

"It just is wrong." 

Please click here to read the full The Sun story

_________________________________________________________________

August 16, 2023 

Probation initiatives prioritize mental health 

"Pauline Quirion, director of the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) & Re-Entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services, who helped to push for the text reminder changes, said the new probation efforts are a step in the right direction. 

'It just makes sense. When we have our own clients, we call to remind them [about court dates] or send them an email.' " 

Please click here to read the full Bay State Banner story

_________________________________________________________________

August 14, 2023 

The state’s duty to shelter its residents 

Letter to the Editor by GBLS attorneys Laura Massie and Gary Klein: "No one, especially homeless families, wants a system in which costly, long-term hotel stays substitute for safe and affordable housing. Instead, the Commonwealth must implement policies to prevent evictions in the first place, to increase the stock of meaningfully affordable housing, and to provide supports to help families move out of the shelter system and into safe, permanent housing as quickly as possible." 

Please click here to read the full Letter to the Editor in the Boston Globe.  

_________________________________________________________________

August 9, 2023 

Mass. guarantees workers up to 26 weeks of paid medical leave. But many don’t know that. 

“Greater Boston Legal Services alone has helped more than 100 people apply for Paid Family and Medical Leave since December 2021…GBLS also handled about 55 cases of interference or retaliation by employers, a handful of which resulted in lawsuits or referrals to private attorneys… 'We can’t always count on employers doing the right thing,' [GBLS attorney Dave McKenna] said. 'These are employers who are not used to their employees having rights when they get cancer or have a baby or when their parents get ill.'” 

Please click here to read the full Boston Globe article

_________________________________________________________________

August 8, 2023 

State regulation gone awry as housing crisis declared an emergency 

"[GBLS senior attorney Laura] Massie was the lead attorney in the Garcia case, a 2016 class action lawsuit filed on behalf of homeless families seeking emergency shelter that was settled earlier this year with the Department of Housing and Community Development. In part, the settlement required the state to do a better job placing families closer to home. 

Please click here to read the full NBC10 story. 

_________________________________________________________________

July 20, 2023 

Little-known Massachusetts law causing major consequences for some homeowners 

"[GBLS Senior Attorney Todd] Kaplan and a legal team filed a lawsuit against the City of Worcester, the city’s Treasurer, and Tallage, to stop the foreclosure and challenge the constitutionality of the process. 

'It's impossible to believe until it happens to you', Kaplan said. 'It's a process that doesn't make any sense. And it's a process that is targeting people that are especially vulnerable. It just is wrong.' " 

Please click here to read the full WCVB article. 

_________________________________________________________________

July 13, 2023 

Massachusetts’ system for migrant families seeking shelter approaches its breaking point 

"Nonprofit Greater Boston Legal Services has fielded calls from BMC staff to help migrants navigate the emergency assistance system. 

'Boston Medical Center has been saying for a long time that they needed more help from the state and it just got too overwhelming,' said Liz Alfred, staff attorney for their housing division. 'That's what I think happened: they didn't get enough of the help that they needed.' " 

Please click here to read the full GBH story

_________________________________________________________________

May 2023 

A Supreme Court’s ruling on May 25, 2023 could affect a Massachusetts case filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on behalf of a Worcester client represented by the Pioneer Public Interest Law Center, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Greater Boston Legal Services.

Homeowner Carmen Rodriguez sued the City of Worcester and a tax lien buyer, Tallage Davis, LLC, seeking to invalidate a state statute that allows municipalities to confiscate people’s homes — including all the equity built up over many years — when they fall behind on their real estate taxes.   

GBLS Senior Attorney Todd Kaplan said in a statement “The process used by Worcester does not even benefit the city’s citizens, because while Worcester received less than $4,000, Tallage took the deed to Carmen’s home worth about $300,000. This process makes no economic sense for Massachusetts communities; it only enriches people like those who own Tallage.” 

Please click here to read the June 2, 2023 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article.

Please click here to read the May 28, 2023 Eagle Tribune article

Please click here to read the May 26, 2023 WGBH article. 

Please click here to read the May 25, 2023 MassLive article. 

_________________________________________________________________

May 2023

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates Minnesota Tax Foreclosure Scheme. [The] ruling could impact Worcester homeowner’s suit against city and private tax lien buyer

The United States Supreme Court ruled today struck down Minnesota’s tax foreclosure scheme, ruling that a Minnesota homeowner who lost her home to a tax foreclosure was entitled to the surplus from the home’s sale.

Please click here to read the press release

_________________________________________________________________

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.

_________________________________________________________________

Archives