Yisroel Schulman, NYLAG’s President & Attorney in Charge, leads the agency’s swift response to the economic crisis.

As the economy falters, NYLAG, like all legal services programs, is experiencing a staggering increase in our clientele. NYLAG’s work touches the lives of the sick, the elderly, victims of domestic violence, children in need of special education, immigrants, and many others who have fallen into poverty. Depending on the need, NYLAG is experiencing a 25% to 30% increase in requests for our services. With the commitments made by our dedicated staff, pro bono attorneys, volunteers and donors, NYLAG is making great strides to meet the needs of our expanding client base.

Recently, to assist in our planning process, NYLAG conducted a needs assessment of our community-based social services partners. Over and over we heard that these organizations are experiencing an influx of clients and that their reliance on NYLAG for assistance for their clients was growing.

NYLAG is taking a strategic stand to meet these new challenges. We have responded to the current and on-going foreclosure and debtor-creditor crisis by expanding our legal advocacy on foreclosure prevention, housing, consumer debt, bankruptcy and unemployment insurance benefits. To deal with a 25% increase in domestic violence, NYLAG has trained 696 law students through its Courtroom Advocates Program and is currently developing a pro bono child support project. As intake of health-related issues have increased by 30%, our attorneys have seen more complaints surface related to housing conditions, denials of public benefits applications, and insurance matters. NYLAG is responding by scheduling additional days at its current intake sites and finalizing the opening of two new intake sites in the coming months.

The loss of income, jobs, and assets associated with the deepening recession is forcing families to decide among competing demands such as healthcare, nutritious food, home energy and adequate housing. Though these trends are cause for concern, NYLAG is committed to meeting them head on. It is imperative that our clients have access to legal assistance to protect their rights, ensure that they don’t fall victim to predators, and advocate for life sustaining benefits to help them through these hard times. The faltering economic environment strengthens NYLAG’s resolve to stand up for low-income New Yorkers.