2020 Year-End Newsletter
2020 Year-End Newsletter
Season's greetings from GBLS! It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2021, and that we’ve been working (around the clock, at times) to protect at-risk community members from the fallout of the pandemic for ten months now. Crisis brings people together, and this year has certainly done that. We are grateful to our many community partners, supporters, and volunteers for standing in solidarity with GBLS' advocates and clients this year. Your partnership makes a difference.
Learn more about the incredible work GBLS’ attorneys and paralegals have done in the face of the pandemic this year by clicking here. And, if you have not already made a donation to GBLS this season, I invite you to invest in a brighter and more just 2021 by making a tax-deductible donation today. Your support is more important than ever.
Best wishes for a better year ahead.
All Hands on Deck for Eviction Prevention
GBLS is about to have dozens of extra hands to help carry the weight of Greater Boston’s pending eviction crisis. Following the October expiration of the statewide Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium, which GBLS helped to enact in April 2020, the state initiated a new project to help tenants and landlords. Dubbed the COVID Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP), the initiative is being managed by the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) to provide urgently needed legal assistance in pandemic-related eviction cases.
The project will expand the capacity of six legal aid organizations across the state, including GBLS, to provide essential help to income-eligible tenants facing eviction due to COVID-19 and to landlords who are income-eligible owner-occupants of two- and three-family homes. Through this initiative, GBLS, serving the most densely populated region in the state, is slated to gain temporary help from eleven attorneys, eleven paralegals, six supervising attorneys, and three intake specialists.
The CELH project will provide referrals, legal information, assistance, and legal representation in all sittings of the Massachusetts Housing Court, including the lawyer for the day program, to preserve or achieve housing stability. When possible, it will also provide legal assistance in District Courts with high-volume summary process caseloads and to prevent the termination of subsidies prior to court to avert eviction.
“The adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income Massachusetts residents cannot be overstated,” said Lynne Parker, Executive Director of MLAC. “It’s my great hope that the assistance made available through this project will really make a difference in the lives of the thousands of tenants facing eviction and keep families in safe housing.”
In Their Words – Notes from Clients
From a recent housing client to their attorney:
“I just wanted to thank you for your support on me getting the RAFT application done, without your emails of reminder and care I would not know where to look for help and how to apply, I can tell that you really cared that me and [my family] would have a chance to pay our back rent and keep our place. We were able to catch up and should able to keep up from now on! You are great human, thank you for the Job you do in the community and for genuinely care [sic]!”
From a client with disabilities to their attorney:
[Note says: “You win more than a case but teaching people who treat the less advantageous [sic] disabled people. Thank you!!”]
GBLS honors and respects our clients, and are proud to stand alongside them in their fight for fair treatment and dignity.
Remembering Brian Flynn
Greater Boston Legal Services is mourning the untimely passing of our dear friend and colleague Brian Flynn, dedicated leader of the Asian Outreach/ Employment Law Unit. Affectionately known as the “Mayor of GBLS”, Brian joined the GBLS/CASLS family in 1996 and dedicated his career to preserving the rights and dignity of low-income individuals. The latter part of Brian’s career at GBLS was particularly focused on improving the unemployment system and protecting low-wage workers from linguistic barriers and misclassification errors that jeopardize their financial stability and household well-being.
Brian passed away peacefully on November 25, 2020, surrounded by loved ones. We miss him tremendously. To read more about Brian’s legacy or to make a donation in his memory, please click here.
Save the Date – Talk to the Hill
This January’s Walk to the Hill event in support of statewide funding for civil legal aid, coordinated every year by the Equal Justice Coalition, will look a little different than in past years. In light of the pandemic and public safety, Walk to the Hill is going virtual, becoming “Talk to the Hill” in 2021. Save the date for January 27th, 2021, and stay tuned for updates from the Equal Justice Coalition.
GBLS in the News
GBLS’ attorneys and paralegals have been in the news lately for:
Preserving voting rights for Chinese-speaking Malden residents,
Pushing Boston Public Schools to provide necessary in-person learning opportunities for high-need students with disabilities,
Protecting consumers through the Debt Collection Fairness Act.
Click each line to read more about this important work. Want to stay up-to-date on what we’re working on? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Greater Boston Legal Services provides free legal assistance in civil (noncriminal) matters to low-income families and individuals in the Greater Boston area, helping people access the basic necessities of life, including shelter, healthcare, and safety from abuse.
Please consider making a gift to GBLS to help make "justice for all" a reality for our most vulnerable neighbors. Thank you for supporting civil legal aid!
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