POVERTY IS AN LGBT ISSUE: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE LEGAL NEEDS OF LOW-INCOME LGBT PEOPLE
Like all of the people Legal Services NYC represents, our LGBT clients lack resources and power. But low-income LGBT people are too often also at the margins of efforts to provide help: at the margins of the legal services community because they are LGBT, and at the margins of the mainstream LGBT movement because they are poor. It is time to change the status quo. This document is part of that change—for all of us at Legal Services NYC and, we hope, for many others.
Our LGBT Low-Income Civil Legal Needs Assessment (the “Assessment”) gives low-income LGBT people a direct voice in identifying the legal challenges they face. It presents data and stories from hundreds of low-income LGBT New Yorkers and their advocates. And it offers a series of findings to enhance advocacy for all low-income LGBT clients—including both overarching conclusions and specific findings in key poverty law practice areas: anti-discrimination, public assistance, housing, health care, immigration, family, employment, education, and veterans.
But here is our most important and most fundamental conclusion: Poverty is an LGBT issue. It is incumbent on those who care about the fight for LGBT justice, and those who care about fighting poverty, to take action.
UW Law Students: Consider attending Citizen University!
UW Law Students have the opportunity to attend Citizen University again this year, March 18-19 here in Seattle. Citizen University is the opportunity to Join hundreds of change-makers, activists, and catalysts in a cross disciplinary setting to learn about power, deepen your networks, and recharge your sense of purpose. In 2016 we’ll focus on race, identity, and the changing definition of what it means to be American. This event is always invigorating. If you would like to attend please email firstname.lastname@example.org by February 1 at 9:00 a.m. to let us know why you would like to attend.
Interested in a Volunteer Legal Internship at DOJ?
Every year, over 1,800 volunteer legal interns serve in Justice components and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Any law student enrolled at least half-time, and who has completed at least one semester of law school, is eligible to apply for a volunteer legal internship.
DOJ offices recruit for legal interns through vacancy announcements posted on the DOJ Legal Careers web page at http://www.justice.gov/legal-careers/volunteer-internship-opportunities. Each announcement lists the applicable deadlines and requirements and students interested in volunteer internships at DOJ for spring and summer 2016 should apply now. Students apply directly to each office in which they have an interest. For more information, please watch our brief video with three tips for securing a legal internship at http://www.justice.gov/legal-careers/video/top-3-tips-secure-legal-internship-us-department-justice and visit our web page at http://www.justice.gov/legal-careers/volunteer-legal-internships.
Your Federal Student Loans Just Got Easier to REPAYE
Beginning today, Federal Direct Loan borrowers can take advantage of a new repayment plan: REPAYE (the Revised Pay As You Earn Plan).
Some of you may be familiar with the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan, which caps payments at 10% of a borrower’s monthly income and forgives any remaining balance on your student loans after 20 years of qualifying repayment. But this plan is only for recent borrowers.
REPAYE solves this problem. Like the name implies, REPAYE has some similarities to PAYE. First and foremost, REPAYE, like PAYE, sets payments at no more than 10% of income. However, REPAYE—unlike PAYE— is available to Direct Loan borrowers regardless of when they took out their loans.
KIND: New Refugee Resettlement Program Important, but Limited Tool; U.S. Must Still Engage Robust Asylum Response
January 13, 2016—KIND welcomes the Obama Administration’s decision to engage with the United Nation Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to screen those fleeing extreme and growing violence in Central America to determine if they are eligible for U.S. protection as an important step toward recognition that the region is experiencing a refugee crisis. However, refugee resettlement is a limited response that must be accompanied by full and fair access to the U.S. asylum system for those Central American families and children who reach our borders, as well as more robust asylum responses from other countries in the region, such as Mexico.
A key to protection will be ensuring that claims are heard in a timely way so that a long term solution can be reached—whether it is resettlement in the U.S. or in another country in the region—as quickly as possible. This is particularly important for children as an uncertain fate is damaging to their development and well-being. Child protection officers and best interests determinations must also be built into the process for cases involving children.
Claims for refugee status must be analyzed with an acknowledgment of the many different types of claims involving threats or harm by gangs, narco-traffickers, and other organized criminal syndicates—including sexual and gender-based violence targeting both girls and boys. Additionally, children’s claims for protection must be examined with a child-sensitive lens that takes into account their development and particular vulnerability.
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