At GBLS we try to do our work in a way that benefits as many people as possible. What we call "Impact Advocacy" includes class action litigation, advocacy for legislation, advocacy with government agencies concerning rules and procedures and filing appeals to get decisions that will influence how other cases are decided.
Sometimes GBLS is able to achieve a major breakthrough or milestone through its actions. You can read about some of the major advocacy milestones achieved in recent years.
Asian Outreach Impact Advocacy
At AOU, we know that empowering people goes hand-in-hand with empowering their communities. That’s why we work with Asian American groups, legal organizations and citizens to address issues that directly affect the lives of Asian Americans in Greater Boston – issues such as domestic violence and worker exploitation. The most recent example is the passage of a bilingual ballots bill requiring Chinese/English or Vietnamese/English ballots for those that need them in the City of Boston. AOU has represented limited-English proficient voters since 2005, first representing their interests in the federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the City of Boston, and then drafting, filing, and advancing the bilingual ballots bill when the lawsuit's settlement agreement expired. With bilingual ballots, elderly naturalized citizens whose English is limited will be able to vote freely and independently in all local, state, and federal elections.
Cambridge Somerville Legal Services Impact Advocacy
Representation in individual cases often gives CASLS’ advocates insight into systemic problems affecting their clients. Armed with this insight and practical experience, CASLS advocates engage in legislative advocacy, administrative advocacy, and representation of tenant and other groups seeking policy changes.
Consumer Rights Impact Advocacy
The GBLS Consumer Right Unit develops impact litigation around foreclosure prevention, predatory lending, discriminatory lending practices, debt collection, credit discrimination and other consumer issues. The current focus of the Unit's work is on the foreclosure crisis.
CORI & Re-Entry Project
GBLS is the only legal aid program with a large-scale volume practice of CORI clients.
Elder, Health and Disability Impact Advocacy
The current priorities for our impact advocacy are: guardianship reform, improving access to hospital services and transportation services for people with disabilities and ensuring access to health care services
Employment Impact Advocacy
The Employment Unit’s main areas of impact advocacy fall into the following broad categories: Protecting Jobs and Families – Paid Sick Days and Parental Leave; Improving the Unemployment Benefits System for Low-Wage Workers; Combating “Wage Theft” Through Stronger Wage Enforcement and Laws; Advocating for Temporary Workers’ Rights; and Implementing CORI Reform
Housing Impact Advocacy
Representation of individual clients gives our attorneys great insight to the systemic problems which produce — and reproduce — housing shortages and instability for low-income people. We use this knowledge to engage in filing legal cases, advocating for changes to agency rules and regulatons at the local, state and national level, and pushing for legislative action and reform at the state level.