Press Clips On Civil Legal Aid

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News Story (Virginia)

Her case helped halt evictions in Richmond. She still isn’t sure how she’ll save her home.

March 26, 2020 | Richmond Times-Dispatch
On March 23, March 23rd, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society successfully persuaded a judge to grant the Richmond sheriff authority to not carry out evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak. This news story looks at the circumstances of Ebony Goode, the woman whose case was behind that decision. Unfortunately, the protection for Ms. Goode and her ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (NATIONAL)

Advice On Filing For Unemployment Benefits: Document Everything And Be Persistent

March 26, 2020 | National Public Radio (NPR)
A record 3.3 million people filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, with millions more anticipated in coming weeks. All this has put a huge strain on state employment agencies, so experts say persistence is key to getting those benefits. In this story, legal aid attorneys give recommendations for what recently laid-off workers should do to navigate the unemployment benefits system.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Unemployment Insurance
News Story (NATIONAL)

People are starting to declare bankruptcy from coronavirus—but it’s often impossible to do while distancing

March 26, 2020 | Fast Company
Upsolve, a nonprofit, which designed a Turbo Tax-like tool for bankruptcy that helps people navigate the civil justice system through the process, is starting to see its first cases due to the coronavirus crisis. But most states don’t let people file electronically—so they still need to go to the courthouse to get relief.
Tags: Bankruptcy | CoronaVirus | COVID-19
News Story (NATIONAL)

Bankrupt Borrowers Won’t Forfeit Coronavirus Aid Payments to Creditors Under Stimulus Package

March 26, 2020 | Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
The stimulus package passed by the Senate includes provisions to aid bankrupt consumers and small businesses. “There are going to be millions of people facing financial hardship,” said Rohan Pavuluri, of the nonprofit, Upsolve, which helps people navigate the civil justice system as they file for bankruptcy. Pavuluri says Upsolve has begun hearing stories from people who have lost income because of coronavirus-related shutdowns.“Personal bankruptcy, just like in 2008, will play a critical role in the healing process of America, and I think Congress is acknowledging that," he said.
Tags: Bankruptcy | CoronaVirus | COVID-19
News Story (NATIONAL)

When home isn’t safe: What the coronavirus pandemic means for domestic violence survivors

March 26, 2020 | Vox
At least 196 million Americans have gotten the same message in recent days: As the coronavirus spreads, the safest place for them is at home. But for all too many, home is actually dangerous.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Domestic Violence
News Story (Texas)

As COVID-19 Layoffs Increase Demand for Legal Aid, Providers Expect Precipitous Funding Drop

March 25, 2020 | Texas Lawbook , Law.com
Civil legal-aid providers across the country are expecting a flood of Americans to begin qualifying for legal aid because of mass layoffs arising from COVID-19 government shutdowns. Some will face serious legal issues, yet as the demand for legal aid increases, the bottom just dropped out of the legal-aid budget. When the federal government cut interest rates to spur the economy, that also zeroed out the interest rate for Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, which is the traditional funding source for legal-aid providers.
Tags: Funding: Federal | Funding: IOLTA
News Story (Montana)

Missoula renters, landlords squeezed by COVID-19

March 25, 2020 | Missoulian (MT)
In Missoula, Montana, as in every rental market right now, tenants are struggling to pay bills and feed their families with a lot less income. Many landlords are sympathetic but are in a bind as well. Amy Hall, an attorney with the Montana Legal Services Association, urges tenants to communicate with their landlords to try to work out an agreement.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story, Newsletter (NATIONAL)

For Abused Women, a Pandemic Lockdown Holds Dangers of Its Own

March 24, 2020 | New York Times (NYT) , Fuller Project
As millions across the U.S. stay home to help flatten the curve, domestic violence organizations and support systems are scrambling to adapt to the rapidly shifting landscape.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Domestic Violence | Women
News Story (NATIONAL, Pennsylvania)

Workers in ‘Contractor’ Limbo at Risk in Covid-19 Jobless Wave

March 23, 2020 | Bloomberg Law
The coming tsunami of unemployment claims driven by the Covid-19 pandemic will make it harder for workers who claim they’re misclassified as contractors to get the legal help often needed to prove they’re eligible for unemployment benefits, legal observers said. Most states use worker-friendly legal standards to establish employee status for unemployment insurance benefits. But the ... Read more
Tags: COVID-19 | Pro Se/Self-Help | Unemployment Insurance
News Story (Louisiana)

In Baton Rouge area, coronavirus job losses might result in rental, homeowner crisis

March 23, 2020 | Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
The coronavirus pandemic has caused the temporary shutdown of local courts which prevents landlords from evicting tenants at this time, but the situation doesn’t absolve tenants from paying their rent when it’s due April 1. And unless the federal and/or state government announce some kind of emergency rental assistance in the coming days, fair housing advocates ... Read more
Tags: COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story, Video (Virginia)

Richmond Judge Halts Evictions

March 23, 2020 | NBC 12 On Your Side (Richmond, VA)
"What people need to know is they don't have to move. Based on what the judge ruled today, they don't have to move. I think that is the key message we need to get out," said Central Virginia Legal Aid Society Litigation Director Marty Wegbreit on March 23rd after he successfully persuaded a judge to grant the Richmond sheriff authority to not carry out evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
Op-Ed (Virginia)

Martin Wegbreit column: COVID-19 and evictions

March 23, 2020 | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (NATIONAL, Wisconsin)

Facing eviction as millions shelter in place

March 22, 2020 | Washington Post
As millions of Americans are being told to stay inside their homes and eviction moratoriums are enacted across the country, tenants - often already struggling under hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic - are still receiving eviction notices from their landlords. This story by Jessica Contrera of the Washington Post spotlights some of the intersections of the COVID-19 pandemic with the affordable housing crisis, health care, low wages and the gig economy.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (NATIONAL)

Texas Hospital Child Abuse Cases Rise in COVID-19 Outbreak: ‘It’s Hard To Think That It’s Just Coincidental’

March 22, 2020 | Newsweek
Doctors at a children's hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, have sounded the alarm over concerns about a rise in alleged child abuse cases amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Tags: Child Welfare | COVID-19 | Domestic Violence
News Story (NATIONAL)

Coronavirus Outbreak Pushes Local Governments to Freeze Home Evictions

March 22, 2020 | Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
As job losses mount, efforts are under way in the U.S. to ensure people have a place to live and quarantine.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction | Housing: Foreclosure
Audio, News Story (Pennsylvania)

Coronavirus outbreak poses special challenge for grandparents raising children

March 20, 2020 | KYW (local CBS, Philadelphia)
Radio interview with Pennsylvania Senior Law Center (SLC) staff on the challenges of grandparents caring for grandchildren and for themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. SLC staff are all on call servicing older Pennsylvanians, and executive director Karen Buck said seniors should reach out and ask questions.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Grandparents raising grandchildren
Op-Ed (Virginia)

COVID-19 Exposes Deadly Gaps in Our Social Safety Net

March 19, 2020 | Virginia Mercury
Poverty is not caused by poor people; it’s caused by system failure, discrimination and intentional exploitation. And our response to COVID-19 proves that it does not have to be this way. Together, we can create systems built to ensure that low-income communities and communities of color do not repeatedly bear the brunt of acts of nature like the coronavirus, or the human-made acts of inequitable laws and policies. We can make systems that work for low-income communities and communities of color all the time, not just during a crisis.
Tags: COVID-19 | Debt Collection | Education | Employment | Housing: Eviction | Immigration
Analysis (Florida)

Why Florida Was (Almost) A Step Ahead In Emergency Tenant Protections

March 19, 2020 | NextCity.org
In 2019 the Florida legislature considered but ultimately rejected bill that would have prevented evictions during states of emergency. Due to COVID-19, Miami-Dade Police Department said it would stop carrying out all evictions during the crisis. And advocates are now pushing for a moratorium on evictions statewide. Now advocacy groups including legal aid providers are asking the ... Read more
Tags: COVID-19 | Disaster Recovery | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Nebraska)

Legal groups request moratorium on eviction, debt collection cases in Nebraska amid coronavirus

March 19, 2020 | Omaha World-Herald
Organizations that represent low-income tenants and debtors in Nebraska courts asked the chief justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court to halt eviction and debt collection court proceedings statewide. The groups want Chief Justice Mike Heavican to “impose an immediate statewide moratorium on eviction and consumer … debt collection proceedings due to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” ... Read more
Tags: COVID-19 | Debt Collection | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Indiana)

Legal aid worried about aftermath of coronavirus

March 18, 2020 | Indiana Lawyer
Legal aid providers in Indiana are still serving clients as the coronavirus storm gathers strength, but they are worried about the surge they anticipate will come after the outbreak has passed. Indianapolis Legal Aid Society and Indiana Legal Services (ILS) remain open, with their intake systems continuing to take calls and connecting individuals and families with ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | Courts | COVID-19 | Disaster Recovery
News Story (Maryland)

Pro bono groups transition to remote services amid virus outbreak

March 18, 2020 | Daily Record (Maryland)
Despite the challenges of court closures and mandatory work-from-home policies being incorporated in response to the coronavirus outbreak, pro bono groups in Baltimore have begun implementing remote services to stay connected with clients in need of free legal aid.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Homelessness | Immigration
News Story (NATIONAL)

As Cities Around the World Go on Lockdown, Victims of Domestic Violence Look for a Way Out

March 18, 2020 | Time
For many women, even the fear of contracting the coronavirus is stopping them from seeking out medical care after experiencing physical abuse. “I spoke to a female caller in California that is self-quarantining for protection from COVID-19 due to having asthma,” an advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline wrote in the organization’s log book. “Her ... Read more
Tags: COVID-19 | Domestic Violence
Audio, News Story (Arkansas, NATIONAL)

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Block on Arkansas Medicaid Work Requirement

March 17, 2020 | KUAR (Little Rock, AR)
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously found an experimental Arkansas Medicaid waiver program to be unlawful.
Tags: Lawsuit: Federal | Medicaid | Work Requirements
News Story (Florida)

Nonprofits Ask Florida for Statewide Moratorium on Evictions

March 17, 2020 | Miami New Times
More than 20 Florida advocacy groups, including Community Justice Project, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Dade Legal Aid, the University of Miami School of Law’s Tenants’ Rights Clinic, Legal Aid Services of Broward County, and Florida’s Children First have asked Florida to issue a statewide moratorium on evictions. In a letter to Chief Justice Charles Canady, ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Georgia, NATIONAL)

USA’s top law group hopes to limit legal harm to the poor

March 16, 2020 | Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC)
The nation’s leading legal organization and legal aid lawyers in Georgia are assessing how to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on poor Americans as they grapple with potential evictions, debt collections and unemployment claim disputes.
Tags: COVID-19 | Domestic Violence | Health Care | Housing: Eviction | Public Benefits
News Story (California, NATIONAL, New York, Washington)

Under Pressure: Legal Aid Attys Brace For Virus’s Impacts

March 15, 2020 | Law360
As the entire legal industry continues reacting to the spread of COVID-19, the legal aid community is bracing for its expected impact on their services for underserved communities. And in some parts of the country, providers are already weathering the effects. This article looks at how some providers across the country are preparing.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Virginia)

Job losses, evictions and utility cutoffs: Being poor amid COVID-19 outbreak

March 13, 2020 | Virginia Mercury
With a viral pandemic set to disrupt daily life around Virginia, advocates are issuing urgent calls for state and local officials to step in to protect low-income, homeless and disabled Virginians who they say are least equipped to safely weather the growing crisis. They’re asking for a state-wide moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, utility cut-offs and collections ... Read more
Tags: COVID-19 | Employment | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Indiana, NATIONAL)

LSC looking to continue streak of appropriation increases

March 11, 2020 | Indiana Lawyer
Pointing to what it describes as an “overwhelming need for civil legal services,” Legal Services Corp. is asking a federal appropriation of $652.6 million for fiscal year 2021, a $212.6 million increase from the appropriation it received for fiscal year 2020.
Tags: Funding: Federal | LSC Funding
News Story (Minnesota)

Want to help prevent evictions?

February 26, 2020 | Post Bulletin
Legal Assistance of Olmsted County is seeing increased demand for its service. Applications for services rose from 572 applications received in 2018 to 708 last year.
Tags: Housing: Eviction
News Story (Massachusetts)

Amherst council supports legislation requiring legal aid for indigents facing eviction

February 25, 2020 | MassLive
By a 13-0 vote Monday, the Town Council approved a resolution supporting a bill pending in the state Legislature that would provide legal assistance for indigent tenants facing eviction.
Tags: Housing: Eviction | Housing: Right to Counsel