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Legal Aid Society receives $250,000 grant to expand housing and economic justice

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The Legal Aid Society received a huge grant to further its efforts to fight housing injustices.

On Aug. 1, the Legal Aid Society announced that the organization was awarded a grant of $250,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY). This quarter-of-a-million-dollars will be put right into the local communities by focusing on housing missions and economic justice for neighborhoods in need.

This grant will aid in the Economic Equities Project’s mission to help protect low-income New Yorkers’ economic equity. The grant money will specifically go towards hiring two new attorneys, one of which will be focused on bankruptcy and the other will look into estate planning. These two new additions to the team will protect people’s assets in this era of increasing housing instability.

“We thank FHLBNY for their generous grant that will help continue our fight for economic opportunity and housing justice for our clients,” said Adriene Holder, chief attorney of the Civil Practice of The Legal Aid Society. “This funding will be instrumental for our work protecting homeowners’ property and economic equity, which is critical to building long-term prosperity and generational wealth for client communities.” 

The Economic Equities Project is the base of every Legal Aid economic justice unit. These include the Foreclosure Prevention Project, Community Development Project, Consumer Law Project and Low-Income Taxpayer Unit. Since they are all under one roof the units are able to work together to address every issue that low-income New Yorkers face on a daily basis. From addressing systemic legal issues, to protecting clients’ financials, to creating new economic opportunities, the units are able to help.

“Protecting economic equity is paramount to empowering New Yorkers and preserving and building generational wealth,” said Tashi Lhewa, director of the Economic Equities Project at The Legal Aid Society. “We have seen entire communities, such as southeast Queens and the North Bronx, impacted by foreclosures and housing instability. Many of our clients have lost equity that should have stayed within their families. We want to ensure families can determine what they can keep in their family and pass on to another, protecting wealth and equity transfers from one generation to another.”

Legal Aid has assisted more than 30,000 people in the last year in their fight for safe and affordable housing, that included nearly 15,000 housing law and foreclosure prevention cases. Legal Aid’s efforts are state-wide as their reform plans go beyond New York City. 

Over the course of the past 5 years Consumer Law Project has worked on over 2,600 cases and the Foreclosure Prevention Project has served over 1,300 clients, with both achieving outstanding outcomes for their clients.

“At the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, we know the importance of creating and preserving access to housing opportunities,” said José R. González, president and CEO of the FHLBNY.  “It is our belief that a stable home is the foundation from which we grow as individuals, families and communities.  The Legal Aid Society is doing vital work in protecting housing stability for so many New Yorkers, and the FHLBNY is proud to support these efforts.”

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