Local legal aid organizations work to enhance services for low-income clients
There’s an effort in Rochester to bring more legal services to people throughout the area who can’t afford them.
It’s being spearheaded by four local legal aid organizations, who collectively are part of the Telesca Center for Justice at the corner of Main St. and Exchange Blvd. downtown.
Those agencies include Empire Justice Center, JustCause, the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, and Legal Assistance of Western New York.
The four organizations began working out of the Telesca Center in 2005, and now they want to expand that partnership.
Kitty Bressington, Chair of the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, said that among the groups of people who are now getting help through that organization are the recent asylum seekers, sent here after traveling to New York State from other countries.
She said the Legal Aid Society is meeting with some of those migrants on a weekly basis.
“To help them better understand what they’re up against, to help them change addresses if they’ve been bused from, say, New Jersey, to help them understand how to file for different things, how to get jobs, etc., said Bressington. “So we are actively involved in trying to make their lives a little better and integrate them into our systems.”
Krystal Bertrand, the Development Officer for the Telesca Center, said that many people who need access to legal services aren’t getting them.
“And that’s not for lack of the provision of those services, but lack of funding that’s available for these services,” said Bertrand, “and we also know that the outcomes for folks who are able to access civil legal services and have a qualified attorney represent them, their outcomes are significantly more beneficial.”
The renewed partnership among the four legal non-profits is also planning to develop new programs and services to address emerging legal needs in the community.
They also want to increase their collaborative efforts for fundraising and development and work to increase public awareness of legal rights and resources in the community.