Mission: Housing Conservation Coordinators is a community-based, not-for-profit organization anchored in the Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton neighborhood of Manhattan’s West Side. We are dedicated to advancing social and economic justice and fighting for the rights of poor, low-income and working individuals and families. With a primary focus on strengthening and preserving affordable housing, we seek to promote a vibrant and diverse community with the power to shape its own future. HCC’s dedicated legal services include full legal representation, pre-litigation advocacy, assistance in identifying and applying for public benefits like SCRIE and SNAP, support for consumer debt reduction, abuse prevention and redress, immigration services, and elder law including end of life directives. HCC leverages its own expertise in housing and benefits law and advocacy in partnership with “our partners” other CBOs and citywide legal service organizations to coordinate services and fully address client needs.
What volunteers do:
- lawyers staff legal clinic and provide free information on a variety of legal topics
- clinic operates Monday evenings, beginning at 7 p.m.
- training provided by HCC staff, who supervise volunteer attorneys
Mission: Housing Court Answers is the first and best place to go for information about NYC Housing Court. We provide assistance to people in Housing Court who do not have an attorney through our Information Table Projects, located in NYC's Housing Courts, and our Housing Court and Rental Arrears Hotline. We are the major voice in reforming the Housing Court. Over the years, we have fought to reform the tenant screening process (known as the blacklist), establish a right to counsel and require the courts to post basic rights and responsibilities. We assist public housing and section 8 tenants in termination hearings. We also conduct trainings for community groups, unions, elected officials and others on Housing Court procedures, eviction prevention programs and housing law. And, last but most important, we fight every day for the rights of unrepresented people in Housing Court.
What volunteers do:
- work with HCA staff to help unrepresented tenants file answers to non-payment petitions, raise defenses
- provide information to tenants on how to proceed when they return to court
- screen tenants for additional help/referral
- two training sessions required
- current need in Brooklyn Housing Court (3-6 hours/week, 9-noon on Monday and/or Wednesday mornings), but other opportunities may arise
Borough: information tables at courts in all 5 boroughs
Mission: The mission of Legal Information for Families Today is to enhance access to justice for children and families by providing legal information, community education, and compassionate guidance, while promoting system-wide reform of the courts and public agencies. LIFT was launched inside Manhattan Family Court in 1996, providing on-the-spot help at a table in the lobby where we answered questions and distributed original “know your rights” publications. Today, LIFT operates innovative, award-winning programs in the Family Courts and in the community, all of which share the goal of promoting positive outcomes for families and children. Education and information sites are located in the Family Courthouses in all five boroughs and provide litigants with immediate help in navigating the courthouse, filling out documents, and assessing whether they need more in-depth assistance. Hotlines operated by telephone, email, and live chat, allow LIFT's staff to answer questions from anyone with a Family Law case in New York- including elderly, disabled, and otherwise homebound individuals; military members deployed overseas; and incarcerated parents. Family Legal Centers are also located in the Family Courthouses in all five boroughs. Here, litigants are teamed up with a LIFT staff attorney to receive in-depth assistance and one-on-one attention, including accompaniment to appointments. Parenting Workshops and Mothers Support Groups, which LIFT operates alongside community organizations, focus on improving participants' ability to effectively parent, while also increasing knowledge of important topics such as health, nutrition, and financial budgeting.
What volunteers do:
- law students, recent law school or college graduates, and retired lawyers staff family-law hotlines 4 hour/week
- non-lawyers distribute and explain LIFT literature
- translate LIFT materials into Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Tagalog, Urdu, or Yiddish (minimum 1 hour/week)
- computer/administrative tasks (4 hours/week)
- extensive training available for all volunteers
Mission: Our mission is to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution, including freedom of speech and religion, and the right to privacy, equality and due process of law for all New Yorkers. We believe that all New Yorkers have inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government or by majority vote. They are: 1) Freedom of speech, press, petition and assembly. Even unpopular expression is protected from government suppression and censorship. 2) Freedom of religion. Each of us has the right to exercise his or her own religion, or no religion, free from any government influence or compulsion. 3) Privacy. We have the right to be free from unwarranted and unwanted government intrusion into our personal and private affairs, papers and possessions. 4) Due process of law. We have right to be treated fairly by the government whenever the loss of liberty or property is at stake. 5) Equality before the law. We have the right to be treated equally regardless of nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, disability or socio-economic status. The NYCLU fights for civil liberties and civil rights through a multi-layered program of litigation, advocacy, public education and community organizing. Our clients are men and women, rich and poor, gay and straight, black, white and brown, young and old, religious and atheist, able-bodied and living with a disability, citizens and immigrants. When we vindicate their rights, all New Yorkers benefit.
What volunteers do:
- online activism
- grassroots lobbying
- community organizing
- lobby with NYCLU in Albany (next day of action March 13, 2017)
- monitor protests
- help fundraise
- graphic design
- multimedia support
- translate (Arabic , Chinese , French, Hindi, Korean, Kreyol, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Urdu)
Mission: Founded in 1990, the New York Legal Assistance Group provides high quality, free civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford attorneys. Our comprehensive range of services includes direct representation, case consultation, advocacy, community education, training, financial counseling, and impact litigation. NYLAG assists victims of domestic violence, immigrants seeking citizenship, elderly New Yorkers in need of public benefits and homecare, children with special needs, tenants at risk of foreclosure and eviction. NYLAG is unique for its ability to serve not only the abject poor, but also individuals and families who earn slightly above the government-designated poverty threshold. We’re able to serve this population because we neither apply for, nor do we receive, Federal Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funding. NYLAG has 125 community offices located in courts, hospitals, and community based organizations in all five boroughs of New York City as well as Westchester, Rockland and Long Island. We also partner with over 600 health and human services agencies across the City to provide cross-referrals and ensure holistic care for New Yorkers in need.
What volunteers do:
- retired attorneys, attorneys in transition, law students and law graduates interact directly with clients and provide legal and factual research, litigation preparation, client advocacy, discovery, motion practice under supervision of NYLAG attorneys (commit to working minimum of 2 days or 15 hours per week either at NYLAG’s Manhattan headquarters or at community offices across the five boroughs)
- translate and interpret
- general operations