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Audio Transcript: Volunteer Lawyers Project, A. Williams
By Alazia Williams SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)— Some Syracuse residents now know where to go for free legal help. That is because several legal organizations have joined forces to protect people who cannot afford an attorney.
Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, Inc. hosted an event yesterday to bring out local attorneys and lawmakers in the community. “Just Ice Cream” is an event highlighting free legal services throughout the four different organizations.
Legal Services of Central New York (LSCNY), Hiscock Legal Aid Society (HLA), Legal Aid Society of Mid New York (LASMNY) and Volunteer Lawyers Project each have their own specialties, but join together to meet significant legal needs in the Central New York area.
Each of the organizations focus on the 65 percent of legal problems reported by the low-income New Yorkers , residents who did not receive the help they needed.
91 percent of Upstate New York tenants facing eviction did not have the help of an attorney. That fact is an eye opener for Wendy Rhodes, Director of Development and Communications. She said that “a big focus right now is evictions defense and housing conditions”. The Volunteer Lawyers Project is buckling down to protect housing rights and ensure healthy families and homes.
The organizations take pride in working throughout the community with different outreach programs and community service initiatives. Development Manager, Bethanie Hemmingway said “being able to help people is the most rewarding thing about my job.”
In 2017 alone, the four organizations assisted over 40 thousand people and handled nearly 20 thousand different cases focusing on economic, housing, health, elder disability and cultural and community justice.