In the News

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Boston.com Real Estate article.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 MassLive.com story.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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<

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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

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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.

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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.

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