Laurel Kean, SILS' Community Economic Development attorney, participated in the New York City Bar Association's annual affordable housing CLE held on May 4th. The community land trust panel, of which Kean was a member, was reported on by Real Estate Weekly.
Lorilei Williams, Immigration and LGBTQ/HIV Advocacy Director, presented along with Bronx Legal Services' Terry Lawson at a CLE hosted by the New York State Bar Association, entitled Immigrants and State Courts: State Law, the New York Family Court Act & Federal Immigration Law, Policy and Enforcement. Ms. Williams contributed significantly to a statewide project spearheaded by the Fund for Modern Courts that aims to educate family court judges, attorneys, and court personnel on the intersections of New York family law and federal immigration law. The project has resulted in a comprehensive online toolkit that is now being rolled out across the state, available at: http://immigrants.moderncourts.org
Bronx Legal Services' Tracy Lawson and SILS' Lorilei Williams at the CLE on June 6, 2017.
Police Must Tackle Language Barrier in Domestic Abuse Cases (NYT, May 25, 2017)
This article discusses the successful settlement of a suit we filed in 2013 against the NYPD for failing to provide interpreters for immigrant domestic violence survivors who don’t speak English well. This was a citywide case that started in Staten Island as a result of enormous problems we were having getting the 120 precinct to provide interpreters for immigrant survivors when they called 911. We coordinated with LSNYC offices citywide and a wide range of community based organizations to find plaintiffs and ultimately filed a group case. This story from the NY Times features one of our Staten Island clients who agreed to share her (sad) story. After she was pushed down the stairs by her husband, the police came to the scene and, because she couldn’t communicate with the police, and they refused to provide an interpreter, her husband succeeded in having her arrested. The case settlement involves not only new policies about providing interpreters, but damages for the plaintiffs and attorney fees.
At its fifth annual luncheon on April 28, 2017, Staten Island Legal Services recognized:
Serena Stonick, Esq. with the 2017 Vito J. Titone Award for Legal Excellence, and
30,000 Degrees: College Readiness for a Stronger Staten Island (a program of the College of Staten Island, Wagner College and St. Johns University) with the 2017 Community Champion Award.
Dr. William J. Fritz, President, College of Staten Island; Jennifer Borrero, Esq., Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services, CSI; Nancy Goldhill, SILS Project Director; Dr. James O’Keefe, Vice Provost, St. John’s University-SI Campus; Dr. Kevin Bott, Dean for Civic Engagement, Wagner College.
Serena M. Stonick, Associate at Cullen and Dykman LLP, received the Vito J. Titone Award for Legal Excellence from Nancy Goldhill, SILS Project Director.
LSNYC Executive Director Raun Rasmussen; New York State Assembly Member Matthew Titone; Bolivar Santos Luna, SILS client; Bolivar's mother, Maria Luna; SILS project Director Nancy Goldhill, SILS Immigration Law Project Director Lorilei Williams; SILS Advisory Board Co-Chair Shelia McGinn, Esq.
By Annalise Knudson silive.com
October 21, 2015
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- St. George resident Rachel Granfield, staff attorney in the Housing Unit of Staten Island Legal Services (SILS), is being honored by the Staten Island NFP Association.
The Staten Island NFP Association will be hosting the fifth annual Community Service Awards on Nov. 15 to honor those who tirelessly serve their communities.
Before joining SILS, Granfield worked at Northeast Legal Aid in Massachusetts and represented primarily homeless and at-risk families and veterans in a wide variety of legal matters.
Whether executing an outreach plan for Staten Island Legal Services' new housing unit, logging countless hours in housing court, or being lauded for providing compassionate support to domestic violence victims, Granfield never seeks or expects recognition.
Why did you choose this career?
"I think my whole life was leading me toward it," she said. "I didn't start practicing law until I was 35, and there's no single reason I can give for why I left a career in book publishing and went to law school."
She added: "A few clear turning points were: the D.A. in Georgia who was prosecuting my mother and embodied compassionate problem-solving in the practice of law; reading the NYC Housing Maintenance Code for the first time when I needed repairs in my apartment that my landlord refused to make; and stopping the eviction of two Katrina survivors when I was an intern at Mississippi Center for Justice."
What does this honor mean to you?
"SILS's housing unit is less than a year old; yet in that short time I feel that we've made a significant impact in access to justice for low-income tenants on Staten Island," she said. "I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all who share our commitment to equity in housing and the courts."
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In her spare time, Granfield enjoys traveling, reading and writing fiction, and exploring New York.
In the coming weeks, a profile of each honoree will be posted on SILive.com.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Vanderbilt, South Beach. Tickets for the event are $55 per person and can be bought directly by calling 718-355-6228.
Yesterday, the NYC Council Committee on Women’s Issues held a press conference applauding an 11% increase in funding for the Domestic Violence Empowerment program (DoVE), which provides critical resources for our work on behalf of DV survivors. Many Council Members came out to support the program and express their gratitude to the advocates who work tirelessly to help survivors of violence. In addition to numerous CMs and Safe Horizon, the organization that administers the DoVE program, SILS Director Nancy Goldhill was invited to speak on behalf of LSNYC. Nancy thanked the Council stating that, “We are humbled every day by our clients who, in addition to enduring violence, are doubly burdened by their poverty, which makes it so difficult to leave, and often triply burdened by virtue of being undocumented or unable to speak English well.”
Staten Island Legal Services recognized Honorable Michael E. McMahon with the Vito J. Titone Award for Legal Excellence at its third annual luncheon to honor legal excellence.
McMahon represented Staten Island in the US House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011 and in the New York City Council from 2003 to 2008. McMahon is credited with putting a lock on the Fresh Kills landfill and saving the City's recycling program, expanding ferry service, putting nurses and computers in every school, successfully fighting over-development on Staten Island and securing the resources to rebuild and expand the Staten Island Expressway and Ferry Terminal. He also championed the establishment of Legal Services NYC's office on Staten Island working together with his counsel, LSNYC Board Member Carmen J. Cognetta, and others to make it happen.
By Anna Sanders
CITY HALL -- Most employers will be prohibited from checking job-seekers' credit history under a law passed by the City Council on Thursday.
The bill, from Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), would make requesting or using an applicant's credit history an unlawful discriminatory practice.
Advocates said employer credit checks hurt those behind on student loan payments and can adversely affect low income New Yorkers, particularly minorities and women.
"There's no evidence to suggest that credit checks will affect an applicant's ability to succeed in the workplace," said Nancy Goldhill, project director at Staten Island Legal Services, a member of the NYC Coalition to Stop Credit Checks in Employment. "Credit reports are also notoriously inaccurate."
Supporters of the bill said prospective employees with bad credit need jobs in order to pay off their debts, and thus improve their credit.
"Employers checking credit scores perpetuates the cycle of poverty," Ms. Goldhill said. Continue reading.