The Legal Aid Society is committed to providing the highest quality, strategically focused legal assistance that empowers clients to transform their lives and communities. Often the best way to do this is in collaboration with community-based organizations (CBOs). These partnerships are central to enabling us to reach our goal of serving those with the greatest social and economic need. CBOs assist with everything from providing referrals for potential clients to providing spaces for community training events, providing vital social services support, and keeping Society staff informed about local trends and developments.
Specifically across the Civil Practice, we work in close partnership with a number of Asian American CBOs based throughout the City and want to publically thank them for their partnership during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our partners include:
- Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE)
- Chhaya CDC
- Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association
- Council of Peoples Organization (COPO)
- Flushing Worker’s Center
- Garden of Hope
- Sakhi for South Asian Women
- Womankind (formerly New York Asian Women’s Center)
The Immigration Law Unit and Family Law/Domestic Violence Practice work closely with a number of Asian American community-based organizations (CBOs), which are able to provide assistance in reaching clients who are often particularly vulnerable. Among these partners are Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), Sakhi for South Asian Women, and Garden of Hope. Garden of Hope provides specialist supportive services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, and the Society is able to utilize their expertise to provide comprehensive support to our clients.
The Employment Law Unit (ELU) works closely with a number of CBOs, including Flushing Workers Center, Chinese Staff and Workers Association, and Adhikaar. Adhikaar is a Queens community center, opened in 2005, that works primarily with immigrants from Nepal. They facilitate access to information and resources on immigration, health, and workers’ rights, and engage in community organization and collective advocacy against social injustices. ELU staff regularly visit the center to provide consultation and meet with clients, as well as conducting a number of training and community engagement events. Across these partnerships, ELU regularly receives referrals of low-wage workers who work in the retail, beauty, and service industries, and who are often particularly vulnerable to employer exploitation and wage theft. For instance, following a recent referral, in January 2018 ELU was successful in gaining a $1,000,000 judgement on behalf of 20 gas station workers who had been subjected to chronic wage theft. These CBOs act as a vital link between the Society and members of the community across the City and are central to ensuring the Society is able to most effectively represent its clients.
The Community Development Project (CDP) and the Consumer Law Project (CLP) work with Chhaya Community Development Corporation (CDC), a community-based organization based in Queens that was founded in 2000 to provide housing advocacy for New Yorkers of South Asian origin. Since 2014, CLP has partnered with Chhaya to provide legal advice and direct representation to local individuals on a variety of issues, including consumer debt, student loans, access to financial services, identity theft, auto loans, predatory lending, rent arrears, housing law, and family law. CDP has also partnered with Chhaya to provide advice and resources to small business owners in the local community.