Community Legal Aid is the state-funded civil legal aid program serving low-income and elderly residents of Central and Western Massachusetts (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties). Massachusetts Justice Project is its federally-funded counterpart. The two groups have teamed up to raise money through their Access to Justice Campaign 2012. I just donated and hope you will too.
CLA and MJP have just one attorney available for every 7,000 needy clients in Western Massachusetts. Their services help our neighbors save their homes from foreclosure, secure protection from domestic violence, prevent elder abuse and fraud, and much more.
Here’s one story from their brochure:
After leaving an extremely abusive relationship, Maria* continued to be harassed and threatened by her abuser at her subsidized apartment. She was afraid to go outside, and could not do the work program required for her receipt of welfare benefits. As a result, her benefits were cut off, and she was evicted from her apartment for nonpayment of rent. She applied for emergency shelter but was told she was ineligible because she had been evicted from a subsidized apartment. She then got in touch with the Massachusetts Justice Project. An MJP attorney filed an appeal of the shelter denial, and represented her at a hearing with the Department of Housing and Community Development. To her great relief, Maria was admitted to a family shelter, and also awarded several months of retroactive welfare benefits to which she was entitled.