YMCA New Americans Iniative – Free Legal Advice!

Marty Forth shared the following message with CACNY. Also check out the flyer for the YMCA New Americans Initiative.

I know immigration status comes up in the CACNY discussions and requests at different times. I hope this resource can help out some of your youth. 

CUNY Law School and YMCA New Americans Initiative Bring Critical Legal Resources to Immigrant Communities

At six New Americans Welcome Centers and 15 community sites, the YMCA’s New Americans Initiative delivers adult literacy, ESOL/ABE, computer literacy, job preparation and citizenship preparation to thousands of immigrants each year. Beginning in January, legal services to address issues related to immigration, housing and employment have been added to that list.

A new partnership with CUNY Law School’s Community Legal Resource Network (CLRN) brings the strength of 330 fully admitted and experienced members of the State Bar to provide a range of legal services free of charge in six communities in the five boroughs.

“CUNY is the only law school in the country with the explicit mission of training lawyers to become public interest attorneys and serve the greater good, and we created the Community Legal Resource Network in 1998 to put that mission into practice in service to the poor and disadvantaged in communities currently underserved by lawyers,” said Fred Rooney, director of CLRN. “We have found in the YMCA a partner who shares our mission and values, and whose position as a trusted ally in immigrant communities is essential to getting these individuals the help they need.

“When 40 percent of our city’s residents are immigrants, the YMCA has long felt a deep responsibility to help them to become active participants in the community they’ve chosen as their home,” said Diosdado Gica, sr. director of the New Americans Initiative. “Aside from learning to communicate in a new language, unmet legal needs are among the most pressing issues for the new Americans we work with every day, and this new partnership will go a long way towards helping the Y be more responsive to the people we serve.”

Thanks to funding provided by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmembers Comrie, Weprin, Palma and Gennaro, the YMCA and CLRN are able to offer services free of charge. CLRN’s services are usually billed at a rate far below standard, something they call “low bono”. Funding will allow the program to operate as a pilot through June, but the YMCA is seeking additional supporters to maintain and expand these services.

Marty W. Forth, LMSW | Senior Director, Teen Programs and Services

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