Borough President Diaz & Legal Services NYC-Bronx
Announce Major Step Forward for Civil Legal Services in the Bronx
Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined other elected officials and community leaders to announce a major new development, which will be the new home of Legal Services NYC-Bronx.
Legal Services NYC-Bronx will soon open their new ADA-accessible home at the Hub on E.149th and Brook Avenue. The new office will be a dignified community space and safe-haven where all clients can access free civil legal services in confidence and comfort. The facility includes a new green space and provides the accessibility and service capacity that clients deserve.
Last year, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced its selection of Triangle Equities as the developer of underdeveloped land at the Hub in the South Bronx with Legal Services NYC as an the purchaser of a commercial condominium that is three times the size of their current office and is fully ADA accessible.
Legal Services NYC-Bronx is now one significant step closer to making this dream a reality with a pledge of support by the Bronx delegation of the New York City Council and Council Member Annabel Palma, Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Borough President Diaz, and the Bronx delegation of the New York State Assembly. These community leaders have demonstrated the importance they place on direct services to the poor by standing behind Legal Services NYC Bronx in its quest for a home that has the capacity they need to deliver their vital services.
“By more than doubling their size, Legal Services NYC-Bronx will continue to provide much needed free legal services to thousands of Bronx residents in their time of need. I look forward to seeing the completion of this new facility and know this new holistic approach will help improve the lives of Bronxites for years to come,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“We at Legal Services NYC-Bronx are overwhelmed by the show of support we have received from Bronx elected officials in our quest for a new home. For years, we have been searching for an office that is large enough for our seventy person staff, for all of our clients to receive services in confidential and dignified surroundings, to hold community meetings, and that is fully ADA accessible. We have an opportunity to purchase newly constructed office space as part of a City-sanctioned development project but would not be able to make our dream a reality without the continued backing of our community leaders. We are grateful to all of them,” said Legal Services NYC-Bronx, Project Director, Jennifer Levy, Esq.
“Legal Services NYC-Bronx has a long history of providing top-level legal assistance in our borough, but it's been clear for awhile that they have outgrown their space and needed a new home to better serve Bronxites in need," said Council Member Annabel Palma. "This new development clearly offers a win-win in that it will provide Legal Services NYC-Bronx with the space they need to function while helping to revitalize the area around the Hub."
“Bronx Legal Services is the largest provider of free civil legal services in the borough; touches the lives of more than 10,000 people; and helps to bring more than $7 million into the homes of low-income Bronx residents through their outstanding advocacy work. This is why supporting Bronx Legal Services’ work to find a new home is something those of us in government must do,” said Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo. “It is especially pleasing that Bronx Legal Services will serve as an anchor for the development of a site that for too long has been a negative aspect of our community.”
“As a strong supporter of legal services, I am very pleased that Legal Services NYC-Bronx will open this new office. As Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse & Disability Services, responsible for the oversight of disability services, I am particularly pleased that the office will be ADA-accessible,” said Council Member G. Oliver Koppell.
Councilmember Helen Diane Foster stated, “There is no greater service we can offer the residents of the Bronx than superb help and protection against the legal challenges our people face daily to their rights of permanent housing, excellent education, and respect for our elderly and disabled, amongst other challenges. Increased legal service in a larger, brand new building will renew our desire for the highest quality of services that our people need and deserve."
“This development is a major step forward in providing an essential and critical service to our most vulnerable Bronxites. The space will provide clients and the overall community with much needed resources. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to continue working with Legal Services NYC-Bronx to create stronger communities within our borough,” said City Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera.
"This expansion of Legal Services NYC-Bronx is critically important and long overdue. Legal Services NYC-Bronx has provided invaluable representation to Bronx residents for years, and has been a leader in the area of foreclosure prevention. With the Bronx having the second highest number of foreclosures in the state, this new space will allow the more than 8,000 families possibly facing foreclosure to receive guidance and legal representation in a safe and comforting environment. I am proud to work with them as they continue to provide affordable legal representation to all Bronxites in need,” said State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein.
“By expanding their services and opening a new site, Legal Services NYC-Bronx is helping to ensure that the thousands of Bronxites who qualify and need free legal services have access to them. In these critical times when individuals are made vulnerable by dealing with various and often confusing legal systems, it is vital that organizations that offer free legal assistance make services more accessible. This is an important victory for Legal Services NYC-Bronx and I congratulate them on their commitment to the Bronx,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera.
“As someone who has consistently fought for fair funding for civil legal services, I am pleased to welcome Legal Services NYC-Bronx to their new home. I cannot overstate how valuable the numerous services provided by Legal Services NYC-Bronx are to our community. Our residents who need legal assistance to stop foreclosure actions, fight for unemployment benefits, fight against housing evictions, debt collection and scores of other actions will now have easy and available access to competent counsel,” said Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson.
"In these tough economic times Legal Services NYC-Bronx provides critical help for struggling families who face legal issues like foreclosure, eviction, education access, disability access and elder care representation. This new facility will provide Bronx residence with a one stop shop to access all of these much needed services," said Assemblyman Carl Heastie.
"Congratulations to Legal Services NYC-Bronx on their new and bigger home. Legal Services NYC-Bronx has served the borough with distinction, providing free legal representation and counsel to countless Bronx residents. I look forward to welcoming them to their new home where they will fight for the rights of even more Bronxites,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.
“I am ecstatic to hear about the new home of Legal Services NYC- Bronx. So many of our constituents are in great need of these free legal services and with this expansion more of our residents will take advantage of it in a new environment where they are given the respect and privacy they need. I look forward to seeing how this will positively impact our community,” said Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo.
“My office is in constant contact with Legal Services NYC-Bronx and for years they have proven to be an invaluable resource for many west Bronx families,” said Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson. “The building of their new office marks a true milestone and is an important investment in protecting the legal rights of families throughout the borough.”
Legal Services NYC-Bronx is the largest provider of free civil legal services in the borough and the largest Legal Services office in the City.
“My son was in trouble. The bullying at his school had gotten so bad that he was threatening suicide and was close to failing out of school. I went to the principal but nothing changed. My Legal Services attorney turned everything around. My son is now at a school that doesn't tolerate bullying. His grades are in the top 10%, but even more important, he is no longer depressed and afraid to leave his room. Legal Services saved my son's life,” said Legal Services NYC-Bronx client Elsie Perez.
“I am a veteran and initially I came to Legal Services NYC-Bronx to be helped with social security services. Legal Services NYC-Bronx in now working in collaboration with the Bronx VA Medical Center. In the process I found out that LS NYC-Bronx could also help me with my HRA problems. Eventually, I learned about the madness that is the welfare system, but Sienna represented me at one of my hearings and gave me the legal advice that finally helped me straighten out some HRA issues. I am willing to say to the world "hey, this system is broken!" There are so many people who don't know what to say, or do, or how to fight back. Well I am a veteran so I don't know how to quit. Legal Services NYC-Bronx helps their clients navigate this broken system to get the help they need,” said Legal Services NYC-Bronx client Mr. Luis Camacho.
On an annual basis, Legal Services NYC-Bronx provides direct services to 10,000 Bronx residents, preventing evictions and foreclosures, enforcing the right of disabled and disadvantaged children to a decent public education, ensuring access to medical care, protecting the elderly from fraud and neglect, and providing the support necessary to permit the victims of domestic violence to escape their abusers.