Dear Friends and Supporters,
We hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. We want to assure you that although CLS’ physical offices are closed, our staff is working remotely and we continue to provide legal services to our clients and take referrals from other community agencies.
COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic have created fear and uncertainty in all of us. But none have felt the insecurity of these times more than our clients and the members of the low-income communities throughout Connecticut who struggle to maintain stability, provide food for their families, and meet their health care needs.
With your support, we have continued to provide legal services to our clients. We are representing clients in priority court matters such as abuse and neglect petitions for children, requests for relief from abuse for victims of domestic violence, and immigration cases for unaccompanied minors. We also are providing legal counsel across all of the civil law areas in which we practice. As incidences of family abuse increase during times of stress such as these, we are working with local domestic violence shelters and the courts to ensure that our clients are able to secure their physical safety.
As we adjust our work, comply with CDC recommendations, and practice social distancing, we also are responding to the new legal issues that have arisen because of COVID-19. In addition to the direct legal services we continue to provide as noted above, we are advocating on behalf of our clients to ensure that they maintain access to necessary services to meet their ever changing needs over the next few months, such as:
· Housing: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the courts to implement a full moratorium on evictions and to ask HUD to suspend eviction related actions. The court has enacted an immediate stay of all ejectments through May 1, 2020.
· Benefits: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the DSS commissioner to suspend any actions meant to terminate benefits or enforce benefit time limits. DSS has enacted these changes.
· Elder: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask DSS and DPH to suspend residential care home and nursing home discharges, and on terminations of long-term care Medicaid payments to nursing homes.
· Employment: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the DOL to provide unemployment for those who are unable to work because of the pandemic but who would otherwise be excluded from eligibility.
· CAR: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the Governor to allocate funds to address educational needs through increased access to internet, data, and digital devices and other school based services for children with disabilities or additional educational needs.
During these difficult times, CLS maintains its dedication to its mission to provide access to justice and protect critical civil legal rights of low-income individuals and families through representation, systemic advocacy, advice, collaboration, and education. Anyone seeking legal assistance within our service area can continue to call our local offices (which can be found on our website ctlegal.org), call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320, or find comprehensive self-help materials at ctlawhelp.org.
Stay home, stay safe, and take care of each other!
Your friends at CLS
Please consider helping us continue to provide services to our clients
during these difficult times.