So Sue Them: What We’ve Learned About the Debt Collection Lawsuit Machine.
by Paul Kiel, ProPublica,
May 5, 2016.
Millions of Americans live with the possibility that, at any moment, their wages or the cash in their bank accounts could be seized over an old debt. It’s an easily ignored part of America’s financial system, in part due to a common attitude that people who don’t pay their debts deserve what’s coming to them.
Angry and often overlooked, children of the incarcerated are hidden in plain sight.
by Claudia Rowe, The Seattle Times,
May 3, 2016.
A Shared Sentence: The Casey Foundation recently reported on the more than 100,000 Washington children who have had an incarcerated parent. These children suffer long-term effects due to their parents’ incarceration that are as damaging as child abuse or domestic violence. Children with parents in prison move more frequently than their peers and are at greater risk of ending up homeless; 75% of them receive foster care, Medicaid, food stamps or welfare services; and they face much higher childhood poverty rates, even after their parents are released. NJP’s RISE Project works to preserve a child’s relationship with a parent during incarceration, reducing children’s mental health issues and anxiety, and provides vital legal assistance to support family reunification upon release.
Support grows for helping ex-prisoners become productive neighbors.
by Jerry Large, The Seattle Times,
April 28, 2016.
Local officials take a moment to celebrate ongoing efforts to help former inmates make it on the outside.
Justice for All - Seattle's Medical-Legal Partnership.
Seattle Children's Hospital,
April 26, 2016.
Seattle Children’s Hospital’s recent Justice for All article in its Spring 2016 Connection magazine features the Washington Medical Legal Partnership and highlights the critical role NJP attorneys play in helping families get the care they need for their children by working with families, doctors and social workers to find legal solutions to health care barriers.
Domestic court forms will soon be available in plain language.
by Lauren Kronebusch, The Daily News,
April 20, 2016.
The “plain language” initiative could have a big impact in Cowlitz County, where nearly 60 percent of family law cases in the last seven months were handled “pro se,” meaning at least one party represented themselves without a lawyer. Laurie Garber, family lawyer with the Northwest Justice Project, said low- to middle-income families who can’t afford lawyers often get caught in a tangle of legalese and paperwork.
Former inmate goes to law school to help other ex-cons.
by Andrew Binion, The Kitsap Sun,
April 16, 2016.
Tara Simmons spent time in prison is now as second year law student at Seattle University. She wants to help former criminals like herself get help to get back into society.
HUD to Landlords: Stop Discriminating Against People with Criminal Records.
by Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service,
April 7, 2016.
1 in 4 Americans have criminal records! NJP’s Eric Dunn interviewed on recent HUD Guidance to Landlords: Blanket rejection of tenants with criminal records may be discriminatory.
See also NPR National Story: Denying Housing Over Criminal Record May Be Discrimination, Feds Say
Family battles to reboot disabled Dayton man's business.
by Dian Ver Valen, Union Bulletin,
April 3, 2016.
Northwest Justice Project helps a disabled man in Dayton keep his small business going.
Lawyers offer free counsel to people who can’t afford to pay.
by Diana Hefley, The Daily Herald,
April 1, 2016.
Snohomish County Legal Services and volunteer attorneys help individuals who cannot afford an attorney with housing and other issues. >Read more
States look to provide lawyers for the poor in civil cases .
by Dave Collins, The Seattle Times,
March 29, 2016.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A flood of poor defendants representing themselves — often ineffectively — in dire cases involving eviction, foreclosure, child custody and involuntary commitment has led to a push in legislatures to expand rights to free lawyers in certain civil proceedings.
Everyone has a right to a free lawyer in criminal cases if they can’t afford one. But the same right isn’t guaranteed in civil cases.
Bill Hyslop: Ensuring accessibility.
by Ken Blocker, Spokane Journal of Business,
March 24, 2016.
Spokane-based bar president says helping poor get legal services is priority.
American Indian Girls Often Fall Through the Cracks.
By Teresa Wiltz, The Pew Charitable Trusts ,
March 4, 2016.
U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Native American girls have the highest rates of incarceration of any ethnic group. They are nearly five times more likely than white girls to be confined to a juvenile detention facility...
Inslee: Disaster warnings must reach non-English speakers.
by Pete O'Cain, The Wenatchee World,
March 1, 2016.
WENATCHEE — In July 2014, about 50 workers lived at the King Blossom Natural orchard near Brewster, none aware of the wildfire bearing down on them.
“The owner sent a boy to wake us up,” said Alejandro Valdovinos Murillo in Spanish following the fire. “It was windy and there was so much smoke. There was no time to take anything.” They escaped, but the fire decimated the camp. They were never told to evacuate by authorities.
Patrick Pleas, an attorney with the Northwest Justice Project, believes they were left out of the loop because many of the workers didn’t speak English.
Lakewood considers rental housing inspections to improve conditions.
by Brynn Grimley, The News Tribune,
February 15, 2016.
NJP-Tacoma’s Jennifer Ammons cited in News Tribune article: “We see clients who have units where there is no heat, there’s maybe no running water, no hot water, there’s a hole in the roof and the landlord isn’t going to fix it until they move out.”
Legal aid is big help to survivors of domestic violence.
by Ishbel Dickens, The Olympian,
February 6, 2016.
In Washington between 1997 and 2014, there were 989 deaths as a result of domestic violence. It is unlikely that one policy will end domestic violence, but there is one service that is proven to have a positive impact on the lives of survivors and their families – civil legal aid.vIn Washington between 1997 and 2014, there were 989 deaths as a result of domestic violence. It is unlikely that one policy will end domestic violence, but there is one service that is proven to have a positive impact on the lives of survivors and their families – civil legal aid.
Help Could Be On The Way For Suspended Drivers In Washington.
by Austin Jenkins, NPR,
February 4, 2016.
According to the Washington Department of Licensing, 380,000 drivers have suspended licenses. Many of them are low-income and lost their license because they failed to pay traffic tickets. They often have unpaid tickets from several jurisdictions and they’re likely to drive even without a license. Now state lawmakers and the attorney general are looking for ways to help these drivers get their licenses back and pay off their fines.
See also AGO Press Release 1/28/16 - AG: Reform traffic fine collection for more equitable outcomes
Washington Supreme Court to learn about civil legal problems and lack of access to needed legal help experienced by low-income Washingtonians.
February 3, 2016.
OLYMPIA -- Washington Supreme Court Justices will learn about the severity of unmet civil legal problems for low-income Washington residents and hear from people who have experienced these problems in a special presentation February 10 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Temple of Justice in Olympia. The event is open to the public and will be televised live on TVW, and available for viewing as a TVW webcast at http://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2016021167.
Evans Fruit Settles Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuits with EEOC, NW Justice Project.
January 28, 2016.
YAKIMA, Wash. - One of the largest apple producers in the United States will pay $272,000 to 20 claimants as part of a settlement resolving sexual harassment and retaliation claims pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. Evans Fruit has also agreed to take steps to ensure that the workers do not suffer any retaliation as a result of their participation in the lawsuits or settlement.
After Overpayment of Benefits, VA Wanted $38,000 Back.
January 27, 2016.
NJP Veterans Project attorney Leo Flor assisted a disabled veteran, who had received an overpayment notice from the VA and subsequently notice to cut all of his benefits until the debt was paid, appeal the denial and overpayment. Flor was successful in getting the debt dismissed and obtain maximum benefits for his client.
"Debtors" Prison Focus of League Forum.
by Gordon Weeks, Mason County Journal,
January 21, 2016.
You get pulled over for a faulty tail light, and the officer discovers you are driving with a suspended driver's license...read more
Protect Female Farmworkers.
By JOSÉ R. PADILLA and DAVID BACONJAN, The New York Times,
January 19, 2016.
Oakland, Calif. — ACROSS the country, some 400,000 women, mostly immigrants, work in agriculture, toiling in fields, nurseries and packing plants. Such work is backbreaking and low-paying. But for many of these women, it is also a nightmare of sexual violence.
Medically Fragile Children Represented by NJP Win Major Federal Court Victory!.
Northwest Justice Project,
January 8, 2016.
U.S. District Court Judge James Robart entered a mandatory preliminary injunction compelling the Health Care Authority to “take all actions within their power” to ensure 5 medically fragile children receive private duty nursing care in their own homes.
The 48 page ruling was entered in a case challenging the Medicaid reimbursement rates as being set so low they made it impossible for the children to live safely at home. Scott Crain, of NJP's Medical Legal Partnership argued that HCA is violating the requirements of Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment mandate and the Americans with Disabilities Act mandate that care be provided in the most integrated settings possible.
On any given day dozens of disabled children with complex health care needs languish in high cost institutions, group homes or hospitals, or are at high risk of hospitalization even though in-home, community based care is less expensive and more beneficial to the long-term well-being of the children. Skilled nursing care allows these children to come home or avoid hospitalization, avoids the emotional toll for the families, and also makes it possible for some parent to work instead of having to stay home to monitor their children's health.
See additional coverage:
- Federal judge: State must get ‘vent kids’ home by Levi Pulkkinen, The Seattle PI January 8, 2016
- Disabled Children Sue Health Care Authority Seeking Skilled Nursing Services by Northwest Justice Project, 10/02/2015
- Why dozens of ‘vent kids’ stuck in Washington hospitals can’t go home by Levi Pulkkinen, The Seattle PI, 10/14/2015
- Suit filed over inadequate state heath care for sick children by Mark Miller, Komo News, 10/12/2015
- Northwest Justice Project lawsuit addresses state’s lack of in-home nurses for children by Adam Lynn, The News Tribune 10/11/2015
Housing Justice Program offers legal help for low-income renters.
By Evan Marczynki, Skagit Valley Herald,
January 7, 2016.
MOUNT VERNON — Free legal help for low-income renters in Skagit County facing eviction or other problems with their housing is being offered through a new program.
The Housing Justice Project, which started in November, was developed by the Skagit Volunteer Lawyer Program, a partnership of the Skagit County Bar Association and Community Action of Skagit County.
Bright, Young, In Limbo: Film Sees Migrant Farm Life Through A Child's Eyes.
by Maria Godoy, NPR,
December 28, 2015.
José Anzaldo is a bright, cheerful third-grader in Salinas, Calif. He loves school, he's a whiz at math, and, like lots of little boys his age, he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. He also entered the country illegally, and his parents are migrant farmworkers who harvest lettuce.
Judge: Yakima hospital violated Charity Care Act.
The Herald of Everett,
December 20, 2015.
Superior Court Judge Susan Hahn said in a ruling this month that the actions of Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center constituted a breach of contract between the hospital and the patients in question, The Yakima Herald reported. She also granted a motion requiring the hospital to turn over certain information long sought by the plaintiffs to bolster their class-action lawsuit.
More children will be tested for lead under lawsuit settlement.
by Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times,
December 10, 2015.
Under a lawsuit settlement, all Washington children covered by Medicaid will be eligible for lead-poisoning testing if their parents request it — or if they live in old buildings, are recent immigrants or face other exposure risks.
In class, out of court: How one school district triumphed over truancy .
by John Higgins, The Seattle Times,
November 19, 2015.
Sending kids who habitually miss school to court under the state’s 20-year truancy law hasn’t helped them stay in school. But a school-court-community effort in Spokane County is having impressive success.
Attorneys hope to ease burden on poor of legal needs.
by Jordan Schrader, The Olympian,
November 18, 2015.
Attorney Leslie Owen greeted her client with good news last week: A fine for driving with a suspended license had been dropped in Grant County, wiping out $1,500 of what Teresa Nisbet owed. The two celebrated the latest step out of a hole Nisbet had dug with credit cards, payday loans, drug use and bad luck. Nisbet recalls how she felt at the bottom of that hole: “I can’t see the light. I have no hope.”
Lenders taking more borrowers to court over student loans.
by Dave Collins, The Seattle Times,
November 18, 2015.
Fall behind on your student loans these days and you could end up getting more than hectoring phone calls and threatening letters. Some lenders are taking more people to court, attorneys say.
Equal justice is still our promise.
by Tracy Warner, The Wenatchee World,
November 12, 2015.
Equal justice under law. That is the lofty motto inscribed over the marble columns of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. It is not a goal, or an ideal. It is a promise. The words come straight from the Constitution. We put our hands over our hearts and pledge allegiance to a land with justice for all.
Court overturns nearly century-old conviction
for fishing at traditional Yakama location.
By Kate Prengaman, The Yakima Herald,
November 8, 2015.
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Justice can come slowly. In this case it has taken nearly a century. It is the story of treaty rights, Washington state’s belated efforts to correct wrongs and an 81-year-old Yakama man who sought for years to vacate his great-uncle’s 1917 conviction for illegally fishing.
Justice Gap For The Low Income Has Widened In Washington.
By Posey Gruener, KUOW.org,
October 29, 2015.
There's a justice gap in Washington state, according to a study published Thursday. It says that low-income Washington residents face multiple civil legal problems, but few can afford the help they need.
NJP files lawsuit over state's lack of in-home nurses for sick children.
October 15, 2015.
Why dozens of ‘vent kids’ stuck in Washington hospitals can’t go home by Levi Pulkkinen, The Seattle PI, 10/14/2015
Suit filed over inadequate state heath care for sick children by Mark Miller, Komo News, 10/12/2015
Northwest Justice Project lawsuit addresses state’s lack of in-home nurses for children by Adam Lynn, The News Tribune 10/11/2015
Disabled Children Sue Health Care Authority Seeking Skilled Nursing Services by Northwest Justice Project, 10/02/2015
In Washington, lives are saved when farm rules are enforced.
by Jeffrey Meitrodt, Star Tribune,
October 7, 2015.
Washington state’s approach to workplace safety illustrates how death rates drop sharply when oversight covers every farm, no matter how small.
Rare foreclosure success story: Long Beach farmer navigates loan-modification labyrinth.
by Cynthia Washicko, The Daily Astorian,
October 7, 2015.
After four years of fighting to prevent foreclosure of his farm, Larkin Stentz managed to do what many others have failed to - keep his land.
Time running out on Seattle family’s ‘golden ticket’ to landing a home.
by Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times,
September 30, 2015.
A Seattle mother of three was thrilled when she got a Section 8 voucher to help pay for housing her family. Then she tried to use it. “It’s just cutthroat out there,” a housing advocate said of the tight market.
Seattle School Board halts suspensions for elementary students.
by Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times,
September 24, 2015.
The Seattle School Board’s resolution calls for a one-year moratorium on some out-of-school suspensions for elementary students, and a plan to reduce such suspensions for all students.
Efforts being made to make sure Spanish speakers find out what's happening on the fire lines.
September 3, 2015.
NJP's efforts to improve disaster response for limited English communities in fire ravaged Central Washington garner national and local media coverage.
Wildfires Reveal Gaps In Emergency Planning For Thousands Of Migrant Farmworkers.
September 1, 2015.
Thousands of farm workers living in wildfire country are particularly vulnerable in times of emergency. One problem is that warnings in Spanish don’t reach everyone that needs to hear them.
A look at Tacoma’s ‘unmet, brutal need’ for affordable housing .
by Matt Driscoll, Tacoma New Tribune,
August 1, 2015.
In maybe a minute, the Tacoma Housing Authority’s list of nearly 10,000 people hoping to receive rental assistance through the agency’s Housing Opportunity Program was trimmed to 1,200 lucky names.
High rate of homelessness among King County’s LGBTQ youth.
By Beena Raghavendran, The Seattle Times,
July 31, 2015.
Homeless LGBTQ youth and adult supporters alike know a fix is needed for the high level of LGBTQ youth who are homeless, compared with the population’s size.
Court Approves Vancouver Housing Authority Class Action Settlement .
Columbia Legal Services,
July 31, 2015.
Nearly 900 tenants who lived in VHA public housing between April 1, 2004 and April 30, 2011 will benefit from a federal court settlement. Under federal law, Public Housing tenants should not pay more than thirty percent of their monthly income for rent and utilities. VHA must establish, annually review, and adjust its utility allowances so that energy conservative households do not spend more than the allowances for utilities. In the lawsuit, the tenants alleged that VHA failed to annually review and adjust its allowances to keep pace with rising utility rates as required by HUD regulations.
View detailed information about the VHA Class Action at http://www.columbialegal.org/vha-class-settlement
No closure for Love Overwhelming, but trial looming.
by Brooks Johnson, TDN.com,
July 9, 2015.
Kelso’s Love Overwhelming homeless shelter will remain open after a judge Thursday gave the shelter and the city a few more months to hash things out.
Seattle Homeless Advocate: 'We Absolutely Can End This Problem'.
By Posey Gruener & Marcie Sillman, KUOW.org,
July 4, 2015.
NJP salutes Bill Hobson for his vision and national leadership in the fight against homelessness during his more than 30 year tenure as director of the at the Downtown Emergency Services Center: Housing First!
Put Lawyers Where They’re Needed.
by Theresa Amato, The New York Times,
June 17, 2015.
OAK PARK, Ill. — MILLIONS of Americans lack crucial legal services. Yet enormous numbers of lawyers are unemployed. Why can’t the supply of lawyers match the demand?
Discrimination alleged at 13 Seattle rental properties.
by Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times,
June 13, 2015.
The Seattle Office of Civil Rights said it has uncovered evidence of rental-housing discrimination at 13 properties, including large, sleek new developments in Ballard and South Lake Union.
Contratos para la compra de casas y prestamistas privados.
Por Teresa Mendoza Romero, Unidad de Prevención de Ejecución Hipotecaria del Proyecto de Justicia del Noroeste,
June 4, 2015.
Parte del sueño Americano es finalmente tener casa propia, pero el obtener financiamiento de parte de un banco para comprar una casa puede ser difícil. El banco siempre se querrá asegurar que prestarle dinero será un buen negocio.
El saber es poder; El proceso de Ejecución Hipotecaria en el estado de Washington.
Por Teresa Mendoza Romero Unidad de Prevención de Ejecución Hipotecaria de Proyecto de Justicia del Noroeste,
May 28, 2015.
Los residuos de la crisis financiera del 2008 continúan produciendo efectos negativos; miles de familias están atrasadas en los pagos del préstamo hipotecario y tienen miedo de perder sus casas.
Seattle U study finds laws pile up against homeless.
by Jerry Large, The Seattle Times,
May 10, 2015.
The first statewide study of laws relating to homelessness concludes that Washington cities have been punishing people for being homeless when it would be cheaper and more constructive to help them instead.
Video - Lawsuits: 'Trash out' company empties homes illegally.
KOMO 4 News,
May 1, 2015.
Washington state law gives homeowners exactly twenty days to vacate a house with the clock starting the day of the foreclosure sale, but "Trash Out" companies are removing homeowners' belongings before then. Attorney Chelsea Hicks with the Northwest Justice Project represents Fiscus and other clients in the same situation.
Justice for all, not only for those who can afford it.
by Steve O'Ban and Cyrus Habib, The Seattle Times,
April 18, 2015.
EVERY year the Legislature enacts hundreds of bills. When signed into law by the governor, these acts define legal rights, assign legal responsibilities or regulate behavior. Many do all three. For our democracy to work, these laws must work for everyone, including people like Paul and Mya.
Paul is a 62-year-old disabled Vietnam War veteran. He was homeless and living in a van after being unable to pay his rent when he turned to legal aid for help. An attorney with the nonprofit Northwest Justice Project helped him apply for rental assistance for veterans.
Driver’s License Suspensions Create Cycle of Debt.
by Shaila Dewan, The New York Times,
April 14, 2015.
LEBANON, Tenn. — The last time Kenneth Seay lost his job, at an industrial bakery that offered health insurance and Christmas bonuses, it was because he had been thrown in jail for legal issues stemming from a revoked driver’s license. Same with the three jobs before that.
The mobile-home trap: How a Warren Buffett empire preys on the poor.
by Mike Baker and Ron Wagner, The Seattle Times,
April 2, 2015.
Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett controls a mobile-home empire that promises low-income borrowers affordable houses. But all too often, it traps those owners in high-interest loans and rapidly depreciating homes.
VA Gives Rural Vets A Break After ‘Daily Show’ Covers KUOW Story.
by Patricia Murphy, KUOW.org,
March 24, 2015.
Twice as many veterans in rural areas will be able to go to a doctor near their home after a policy change made Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The change follows a scathing report less than 24 hours earlier on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," which featured a KUOW story.
Pilot program helps domestic violence survivors overcome barriers.
By Katy Wong, The International Examiner,
March 13, 2015.
A three-year pilot program aimed at addressing the twin problems of homelessness and domestic violence is making a difference. The program, known as the Domestic Violence Housing First (DVHF), provides domestic violence survivors with stable housing and flexible financial assistance to meet different levels of needs. NJP coordinates with DVHF to help clients with their civil legal needs.
Portrait Of A Homeless Family: 17 Months, 25 Moves .
By Jeannie Yandel, KUOW.org,
March 5, 2015.
Jessica Tossey is in the living room of her condo, getting herself and young son Blakely ready for their mile-long walk to church, where he goes to preschool. Jessica puts on a bright orange sweatshirt, shoulders a backpack, grabs Blakely’s hand, and heads out the door. Her family doesn’t have a car, so to get anywhere, they bus, get rides or walk.
Alice's house: It's still hers.
By Allison Arthur, The Port Townsend Leader,
March 4, 2015.
NJP Foreclosure Prevention Unit save home of 84 year old woman on Marrowstone Island.
Bank 'break-ins' show need to update WA foreclosure law.
by Chris Ingalls, King 5 News,
March 2, 2015.
Locked out of your home by your own bank. New data uncovered by KING 5 shows that it has happened to possibly thousands of Washington homeowners - in some cases well before their home is in foreclosure. NJP attorney helps homeowner.
I-TEAM INVESTIGATES: Veteran Relief Fund in Benton County.
February 12, 2015.
For years a state law being misinterpreted locally could have left our veterans without access to the emergency funds they need.
NJP Protects Due Process rights of Persons Accused of Wrongdoing by DSHS.
Northwest Justice Project,
February 5, 2015.
In an important case argued by NJP, on Feb. 3 the Court of Appeals Div. II found that DSHS violated the due process rights of an appellant by accusing her of wrongdoing, and then rejecting her appeal because she missed a time deadline that DSHS never told her about.
DSHS sent the appellant a notice telling her how many days she had to appeal. The notice said nothing about a time deadline. After appellant filed her appeal, DSHS told appellant she had filed her appeal two hours late. An administrative law judge later dismissed appellant’s hearing request because appellant missed this deadline that DSHS had not told her about. DSHS Board of Appeals agreed with the administrative law judge. The Court of Appeals reversed DSHS because of the violation of due process.
Homelessness 3 times more likely among state’s black, Native American kids .
By Joseph O'Sullivan, The Seattle Times,
January 19, 2015.
OLYMPIA — As speakers and protesters here celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, some sobering new numbers are out on student homelessness in Washington state.
Rents rising quickly as older buildings change hands.
By Sanjay Bhatt, The Seattle Times,
January 14, 2015.
Just before New Year’s, Kathy Heffernan’s new landlord announced that her rent on a two-bedroom unit at the Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle would go up on March 1, from $1,000 to $2,300 — a 130 percent increase.
Judge’s departure means court proceedings in Spanish will end.
By Sarah Stuteville, The Seattle Times,
January 8, 2015.
Her English-Spanish language courtroom in Des Moines’ Municipal Court is about to shut down, but Judge Veronica Alicea Galván, who has been appointed to the King County Superior Court bench, foresees a day when bilingual courts are not unusual.
Can't Pay Your Fines? Your License Could Be Taken.
by Joseph Shapiro, NPR,
December 29, 2014.
Drive drunk, drive recklessly, and the state can suspend your driver's license. But many police and motor vehicle administrators worry about a recent trend: A large number of suspensions are for reasons that have nothing to do with unsafe driving.
These reasons include unpaid traffic tickets, falling behind on child support, getting caught with drugs, bouncing checks; or minor juvenile offenses like missing school, using false identification to buy alcohol, or shoplifting.
Mobile Home Rentals Fall Into Regulatory Gray Area.
By Austin Jenkins, KUOW.org,
December 19, 2014.
Across the Northwest, some families will spend Christmas in rented mobile homes where the living conditions are marginal at best and dangerous at worst. So who’s inspecting these manufactured homes? It turns out that they fall into a regulatory gray area.
Seattle Housing Authority retreats on rent-raising proposal.
By Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times,
December 17, 2014.
In response to widespread opposition, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has shelved its controversial plan to raise rents for thousands of its tenants.
Whatcom’s new Superior Court judge has tribal background.
by Ralph Schwartz, The Bellingham Herald,
December 15, 2014.
Whatcom County will have its first Native American Superior Court judge in 2015.
At local motels, no room for the homeless, paid or not .
By Danny Westneat Seattle Times staff columnist,
December 3, 2014.
The trouble with being poor goes far beyond having no money, Rex Hohlbein learned the other day.
Example: Even if something is paid in advance, sometimes they still kick you out and threaten to call police — just because you fit the poverty profile.
A Push for Legal Aid in Civil Cases Finds Its Advocates.
by Erik Eckholm and Ian Lovett, The New York Times,
November 21, 2014.
LOS ANGELES — Lorenza and German Artiga raised six children in a rent-controlled bungalow here, their only home since they moved from El Salvador 29 years ago. So they were stunned this past summer when their landlord served them with eviction papers, claiming that their 12-year-old granddaughter Carolyn, whose mother was killed in a car crash in 2007, was an illegal occupant.
Housing outreach groups offer film showing .
Yakima Herald- Republic,
October 24, 2014.
The Foreclosure Prevention and Housing Outreach Coalition will show the film “American Winter” on Thursday at The Seasons, 101 N. Naches Ave.
Health clinic offers free legal advice.
By Lyxan Toledanes, The Daily News Online,
October 18, 2014.
Patients can now sort out their social security benefits and get their blood pressure checked — all in one visit to the doctor’s office. The Cowlitz Family Health Center is offering legal services to any local, low-income families every Thursday at its Longview clinic, 1057 12th Ave. The service, provided by the Northwest Justice Project, is just another way for the health center to serve its patients, said Julie Nye, a nurse and quality administrator at the Family Health Center.
Commentary: Seattle market rebounds, foreclosure remains in the API community.
By Diana Chen, Northwest Asian Weekly,
September 25, 2014.
Seattle home prices have rebounded dramatically in the past 18 months, with more than a 9.5 percent increase in median home sales prices from 2012 to 2013, nearly bringing median prices to pre-recession heights seen in 2007. Zillow reports that 92.5 percent of Seattle-metro area homes are in positive equity positions, putting the Seattle-metro area among the top five areas in the nation.
This should be good news, but what about those who have not benefitted from the upward market?
Feds sue Corinthian Colleges, allege predatory lending.
September 16, 2014.
A for-profit education company that owns six Everest College campuses in Washington is under investigation for predatory lending practices.
CFPB Sues For-Profit Corinthian Colleges for Predatory Lending Scheme.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,
September 16, 2014.
Bureau Seeks More than $500 Million In Relief For Borrowers of Corinthian’s Private Student Loans
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sued for-profit college chain Corinthian Colleges, Inc. for its illegal predatory lending scheme. The Bureau alleges that Corinthian lured tens of thousands of students to take out private loans to cover expensive tuition costs by advertising bogus job prospects and career services. Corinthian then used illegal debt collection tactics to strong-arm students into paying back those loans while still in school. To protect current and past students of the Corinthian schools, the Bureau is seeking to halt these practices and is requesting the court to grant relief to the students who collectively have taken out more than $500 million in private student loans.
Biden, Clinton, Kagan, and Scalia Join Leaders from Government, Business, and Law at Conference Marking LSC’s 40th Anniversary .
Legal Services Corporation,
September 12, 2014.
WASHINGTON – Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will join more than 100 leaders of the legal community, government, and the private sector September 14-16 at a wide-ranging legal aid conference in Washington to mark the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation.
Northwest Justice Project Awarded $211,120 Pro Bono Innovation Grant.
Legal Services Corporation,
September 9, 2014.
The Legal Services Corporation announced today Northwest Justice Project’s 24-month $211,120 Pro Bono Innovation grant to systematically increase and improve pro bono legal services to low income clients.
NJP wins major victory for LEP communities and Workers Compensation claimants.
by Northwest Justice Project,
August 25, 2014.
NJP wins major victory for LEP communities and Workers Compensation claimants: The Department of Justice and Department of Labor have found that Washington Labor & Industries’ policies, practices, and procedures are inconsistent with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and its regulations, and L&I grant obligations. DOJ/DOL issued a lengthy decision in response to a complaint NJP filed on behalf of eight limited English proficient workers claiming denial of language access by the Department of Labor and Industries - Insurance Services Division.
Helping Prevent Foreclosures.
By Lisa Prevost, NY Times,
August 14, 2014.
A new study finds that the emergency extensions of unemployment benefits during the recession went a long way toward preventing mortgage defaults, even more than government programs meant to prevent foreclosures by focusing only on reducing monthly payments.
Sal Mendoza Jr. of Kennewick becomes first Latino federal judge on east side.
By Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City Herald,
August 1, 2014.
When Sal Mendoza Jr. reads the inscription on the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., he sees more than words in “Equal Justice Under Law.” It’s because of that phrase that a migrant kid from Prosser took the oath Friday as a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Washington, he explained.
Judge wants court to keep supervising state on Braam foster care reforms .
by John Stang, Crosscut.com,
July 21, 2014.
The court will monitor foster care reform until the state meets all the requirements from the '98 Braam v. Washington suit.
WashingtonLawHelp.org Provides Information Via Text.
by Northwest Justice Project,
July 18, 2014.
Legal Information Site Offers Access to Referrals, Information and Self-help via Text Message
WashingtonLawHelp.org, the free, statewide resource for those facing civil legal issues, launched a new text messaging campaign, aimed at helping low-income individuals in Washington get their driver’s license reinstated by texting DRIVE to 877877.
This new SMS campaign will guide residents to legal information and local referral services through the use of text message. This will allow cell phone users to receive referral information without the need for a data plan, and will allow cell phone users with a data plan to access legal information directly from their phone.
“For people on a fixed income, unpaid traffic fines can snowball into a suspended license making it difficult to get or maintain a job. The goal of this text campaign is to help these individuals get on a path toward reinstatement and ultimately employment,” said Danielle Rebar, Website Manager at the Northwest Justice Project.
WashingtonLawHelp.org is part of the national LawHelp.org network of nonprofit legal information portals that empower individuals to help themselves. WashingtonLawHelp.org is Washington’s online source of free legal aid referrals, know-your-rights information and a variety of self-help tools. The site is maintained by the Northwest Justice Project, in conjunction with Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit leader in increasing access to justice for low-income people.
WashingtonLawHelp.org was launched in 2004 and now serves more than 800,000 visitors a year providing hundreds of free legal information publications, self-help packets, videos and court forms for use in Washington State. Visit www.washingtonlawhelp.org for more information.
The Northwest Justice Project is Washington’s publicly funded legal aid program. Each year NJP provides critical civil legal assistance and representation to thousands of low-income people in cases affecting basic human needs such as family safety and security, housing preservation, protection of income, access to health care, education and other basic needs. For more information, visit www.nwjustice.org.
Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, Pro Bono Net transforms the way legal help reaches the underserved. Our comprehensive programs, including www.probono.net, www.lawhelp.org and www.lawhelpinteractive.org, enable legal advocates to make a stronger impact, increase volunteer participation, and empower the public with resources and self-help tools to improve their lives. For more information, please visit www.probono.net.
When Poverty Makes You Sick, a Lawyer Can Be the Cure.
By Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times,
July 17, 2014.
Where you work, the air you breathe, the state of your housing, what you eat, your levels of stress and your vulnerability to crime, injury and discrimination all affect your health.
Project Homeless Connect provides services to 1,300 at day-long event.
July 16, 2014.
Pat, an army veteran who made her way to Evergreen Middle School Thursday, July 10, found a haircut, a referral to a dentist, a backpack full of toiletries, information on housing resources and free legal advice.
Tulalips wield new power against domestic violence.
By Chris Winters, Herald Writer,
July 14, 2014.
The Tulalip Tribes are now one of just three Native American tribes in the country to take advantage of a federal program designed to better combat domestic violence on tribal lands.
Tenants With Disabilities Filing Suit Over Sale Of Seattle Apartment Building.
By Bellamy Pailthorp , KPLU.org,
July 3, 2014.
A group of disabled and elderly tenants being priced out of a Seattle apartment building are striking back.
NJP's Leo Flor named to King County Public Defense Advisory.
June 17, 2014.
King County Executive Dow Constantine named 11 highly-regarded leaders in indigent defense and the protection of the rights of the accused to serve on the County’s first-ever Public Defense Advisory Board.
Mendoza of Tri-Cities confirmed - First Latino federal judge.
by Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald,
June 17, 2014.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Sal Mendoza Jr. to become the first Latino federal judge in Eastern Washington on Tuesday morning with a vote of 92- 4. He is expected to be based in either Yakima or Richland.
New Film Decries The Return Of Debtors Prisons.
The Huffington Post | By Saki Knafo ,
June 4, 2014.
Over the past decade, towns and counties across the United States have been locking up a growing number of people for failing to pay their debts. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Brennan Center for Justice documented the practice in 2010, and Human Rights Watch released the results of its own investigation earlier this year.
Critics have decried the return of the debtors prison, the reviled institution of Charles Dickens' day. Now, a short documentary, "To Prison for Poverty," sheds light on a particularly contentious aspect of the story.
State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu sworn in.
Jim Camden, The Spokeman-Review,
May 21, 2014.
OLYMPIA – With people who inspired her standing at her side and some she hoped to inspire sitting in the audience, Mary Yu was sworn in Tuesday to a state Supreme Court seat she’s almost sure to hold for the next two years despite being on the ballot this fall.
Pay Up or Go to Jail.
by The Editorial Board, The New York Times,
May 20, 2014.
User fees are a fact of life in America — those inscrutable “administrative” charges tacked on to everything from checking luggage to buying theater tickets to applying for college. For people with the ability to pay, they are an irritation. But such fees are increasingly being levied on people caught up in the criminal justice system, who are overwhelmingly among the poorest members of society.
Billy Frank Jr.: Champion of tribal rights dies at age 83.
by Craig Welch, The Seattle Times,
May 7, 2014.
Billy Frank Jr., the charismatic leader in the successful battle over fish, was praised by President Obama: “Thanks to his courage and determined effort, our resources are better protected, and more tribes are able to enjoy the rights preserved for them more than a century ago.”
Editorial: Billy Frank Jr. spoke for salmon, tribes and the natural environment.
by Richard S. Heyza, The Seattle Times,
May 7, 2014.
Nisqually tribal elder Billy Frank Jr. was a tireless advocate for dignity and respect for all living creatures. He is a true figure of Northwest history.
Governor names first openly gay, Asian American to state’s high court.
The Seattle Times,
May 2, 2014.
King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu was appointed to the Washington state Supreme Court on Thursday, becoming the first openly gay justice, as well as the first Asian American, to serve on the state’s high court.
Project puts traffic offenders on the road to recovery.
by The Olympian, Editorial,
April 30, 2014.
For someone with a family wage job or better, a traffic ticket is not much more than an irritant: Pay it and get on with life. For someone unemployed or living hand-to-mouth, that same ticket often becomes an insurmountable barrier, leading to more legal troubles, escalating fines and even jail time.
Senate confirms new judge for Eastern Washington District Court.
The Spokeman- Review,
April 30, 2014.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed a Wenatchee attorney as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.
Stanley Allen Bastian, 56, will fill a judgeship vacant since June 7, 2012, when Judge Edward Shea assumed senior status, a news release from Ninth Circuit said. One vacancy remains to be filled on the court.
Olympia attorney lends a hand to help low-income reclaim driver's licenses.
By Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian,
April 24, 2014.
Collections agencies were bothering Olympia resident Jerry Baker, 68, at all hours at the start of the year because of about $2,000 he owed the state in unpaid fines for traffic violations.
How to lighten slide victims' financial burden.
By Bryan Adamson, The Herald of Everett,
April 20, 2014.
The March 22 Oso mudslide was an unspeakable tragedy. As workers continue to search for still-missing loved ones, those who survived find themselves confronting a host of financial and legal uncertainties.
For Darrington And Oso, A Long Road Back To Normal.
by Carolyn Adolph, KUOW.org,
April 18, 2014.
The shock is wearing off in Darrington and Oso.Nearly a month after the devastating mudslide destroyed a neighborhood and wiped out the highway between the two towns, people are trying to find a "new normal" in a place where nothing will be the same again.
Lawyers step up to aid Oso slide victims.
By Eric Stevick, Herald Writer,
April 18, 2014.
For Rodi O’Loane, knowing that 200 attorneys across the state have offered free legal help to people affected by the deadly Oso mudslide is especially meaningful.
More litigants acting as their own attorneys.
By Paris Achen, The Columbian,
April 6, 2014.
Practice has increased since Great Recession, and everyone is paying the price.
A Quiet ‘Sea Change’ in Medicare.
By Susan Jaffe, The New York Times,
March 25, 2014.
Ever since Cindy Hasz opened her geriatric care management business in San Diego 13 years ago, she has been fighting a losing battle for clients unable to get Medicare coverage for physical therapy because they “plateaued” and were not getting better.
Whatcom County, former tenants in dispute with land owner over run-down rentals .
By John Stark, The Bellingham Herald,
March 21, 2014.
Charles Carman says his goal was to provide cheap accommodations for low-income people who could grow their own food and maybe even develop an agricultural co-op on his 20-acre property. But when Whatcom County Planning and Development Services inspectors visited the site in the summer of 2013, they found numerous health and safety code violations. They also discovered that an RV, mobile homes and other dwellings on the property had never received the required county permits but were being rented to tenants.
Detained immigrants entitled to bond hearing, judge rules.
By Lornet Turnbull, The Seattle Times,
March 12, 2014.
Immigration authorities must grant bond hearings to immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center who are picked up by immigration authorities months and sometimes years after resolving their criminal cases in state court and returning to their communities.
Click here to read the order.
Updates coming for debt collection laws.
By Mai Hoang / Yakima Herald-Republic,
March 10, 2014.
Debt collection practices continue to be a major source of consumer complaints for state and national agencies, and consumer protection advocates are calling for reform. And the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been working on revamping rules regarding debt collection.
Rights Advocates See 'Access To Justice' Gap In U.S..
by Carrie Johnson, NPR,
March 10, 2014.
Too many poor people in the U.S. lack access to lawyers when they confront major life challenges, including eviction, deportation, custody battles and domestic violence, according to a new report by advocates at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic.
A good day for at-risk kids.
by John Stang, Crosscut.com,
March 8, 2014.
The Legislature passes 3 bills to help foster children and other at-risk kids.
Lawmakers consider ways to help homeless students .
By Ashley Stewart, The Seattle Times,
March 7, 2014.
Lawmakers at both the state and federal level are searching for ways to help homeless students, and a program at a Tacoma school has served as a model for some of the legislation.
Veterans and the space inbetween.
Mark Harvey, The Daily World,
December 28, 2013.
The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) provides civil legal services to income-eligible folks in Washington State, and you’ve heard me go on about them before: This is a group of genuinely decent attorneys who honestly believe that folks who need help ought to be able to get it — whether they can afford it or not.
Tom Chambers, former state Supreme Court justice, dies .
By Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times,
December 13, 2013.
He was a thrill-seeker in cowboy boots who piloted planes, scuba-dived in exotic seas and sought to appease a lifelong obsession with speed through vintage sports cars and high-revving motorbikes.
But within the courtroom, Tom Chambers exuded an almost ministerial humility as a champion for the underdog — a personal quality borne from his humble upbringing in small-town Eastern Washington.
- Wapato’s Tom Chambers championed the underdog
- Foster Care, Public Defense Among Justice Chambers' Legacies
- Retired state Supreme Court Justice Chambers dies at 70
Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society aims to help senior citizens.
Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City Herald,
November 29, 2013.
Barb Otte has a soft spot for senior citizens. So when elderly people comes to the executive director of the Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society, grab their own chests and say their hearts no longer can take the harassing phone calls from collectors, Otte doesn't hesitate to take them on as clients.
Skyway man victim of mortgage scam — Legal aid saves local homeowner from fraud.
By Jason Cruz, Northwest Asian Weekly,
October 31, 2013.
Yao Fou Hinh Chao almost lost his Seattle home to a mortgage scam. “I lived here 35 years,” he said, “and the last one was a nightmare year for me.”
Feria previene estafa en la compra de vivienda.
Normand Garcia, El Sol de Yakima,
October 24, 2013.
El sueño de Salvador Castro, fue siempre comprar su propia casa. Pero antes de dar tan importante paso, prefirió informarse sobre el proceso de compra.
Washington Healthplanfinder: more than 35,000 have enrolled in 3 weeks.
by Amy Snow Landa, The Seattle Times,
October 21, 2013.
Three weeks after its launch, Washington’s online insurance marketplace continues to set a strong pace for enrollment.
Former foster children plead for kids to have attorneys.
by John Stang, Crosscut.com,
October 4, 2013.
A bill stuck in the Legislature could make a difference for young people when they are most alone and in need.
Man facing foreclosure sues bank over items stolen from home .
Get Jesse, King 5 News,
October 1, 2013.
Facing a foreclosure date is bad but having items removed from your home before that fateful day is worse. Now a Pierce County man is suing his bank with the help of the Northwest Justice Project, saying it hired a contractor who stole items from his home months before he was supposed to move out.
NJP’s Leo Flor – Special Advisor Executive’s budget proposes Regional Veterans Initiative to connect veterans and families with needed services.
King County Executive News,
September 19, 2013.
Federal and state offices join King County in two-year collaboration to improve coordination
Four of every ten veterans say they have little or no knowledge of the benefits they have earned, or how to access them. King County Executive Dow Constantine today said his 2014/2015 County budget will call for support of a King County Veterans Service Network – to embark on the first-ever comprehensive mapping of the labyrinth of federal, state and local services for veterans.
Attorney General Ferguson unveils new resource for veterans, military personnel.
Washington State Office of the Attorney General,
September 10, 2013.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced a new “Military and Veterans Legal Resource Guide” to help veterans, military personnel and their families understand their legal rights and protections.
A lawyer for every kid!.
by John Stang, Crosscut.com,
August 29, 2013.
Washington State doesn't provide or require legal representation for juveniles. But it should.
Consumer Bureau: Too Few Use Loan Forgiveness.
by Philip Elliott, Associated Press ,
August 28, 2013.
More than 33 million workers qualify to have their student loans forgiven because they work in schools, hospitals or city halls, but too few take advantage of the options because the programs are overly complicated and often confusing, the government's consumer advocate said Wednesday.
Center for Justice’s Virla Spencer Honored.
by Heidi Groover, The Pacific Northwest Inlander,
August 27, 2013.
Virla Spencer is so effective in her work because she’s lived the struggle. Herself an ex-offender, Virla Spencer now helps convicts get their driver's licenses back.
Legal clinic helps Native Americans navigate urban life.
By Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times,
August 19, 2013.
The Urban Indian Legal Clinic provides advice and referrals for a range of legal issues to Native Americans. In Seattle, with one of the highest populations of so-called “urban Indians” in the U.S., the clinic provides a needed service for an often overlooked community, organizers say.
And Justice For All: Assuring access to justice is critical for the poor.
by Hans Slette, The Wenatchee World,
July 17, 2013.
In the coming months, my colleagues and I will share stories with Wenatchee World readers about how low-income residents of North Central Washington are achieving justice in our communities.
Deal reached to keep Cascade and Senator apartments open.
Yakima Herald Republic,
July 12, 2013.
Yakima officials and a downtown landlord have reached a deal that will likely avoid eviction of the roughly 200 tenants due to unsafe building conditions.
NJP Files Suit on Behalf of Woman Denied Special Shuttle.
by John Langeler, King 5 News,
June 9, 2013.
A 10-year battle to get special door-to-door service for a Steilacoom woman with a disability is now in U.S. Federal Court.
Wash. Supreme Court Rejects Legal Fees, Hurdles For Poor.
KUOW.org by Amy Radil,
May 23, 2013.
Washington’s judicial system abolished court fees for poor people in 2010, but county courts sought ways around the rule. Now in a unanimous decision, the Washington State Supreme Court has reaffirmed that if someone qualifies as indigent, courts need to give them access for free.
Court Data Breach.
Northwest Justice Project,
May 9, 2013.
The Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) announced that a security breach occurred on its public website potentially involving social security numbers for more than 160,000 persons incarcerated in 2011 and 2012; and names and driver’s licenses of up to a one million people. Call the Administrative Office of the Courts Hotline to check if your Social Security Number or Driver License Number may have been accessed: 1 (800) 448-5584 Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. PDT
In a First, Judge Orders Legal Aid for Mentally Disabled Immigrants Facing Deportation.
by Julia Preston, The New York Times,
April 24, 2013.
A federal judge in California has ordered immigration courts in three states to provide legal representation for immigrants with mental disabilities who are in detention and facing deportation, if they cannot represent themselves. The decision is the first time a court has required the government to provide legal assistance for any group of people before the nation’s immigration courts.
Update: Advisory Regarding Proposals for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation.
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project,
April 18, 2013.
On April 17, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced proposed legislation to reform our immigration system. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is encouraged that our political leaders recognize some of the serious flaws with our immigration system and the urgent need for reform.
Kirkland forbids landlords from barring tenants over Section 8 status.
by Keith Ervin, The Seattle Times,
March 20, 2013.
Landlords can’t automatically refuse to rent to Section 8 voucher holders under an ordinance adopted by the City Council.
Justice in Motion is worth watching.
by Sarah Glorian, The Daily World,
March 19, 2013.
In December 2010, the Washington Supreme Court adopted General Rule (GR) 34 to create a uniform process and provided mandatory forms. The rule should have provided uniformity in the courts for litigants to request and receive fee waivers. It would provide all citizens access to justice—regardless of their inability to pay a filing fee, ex parte fee, court surcharges, etc. Unfortunately, during the past two years, the adoption of GR 34 has not resulted in the uniformity many of us hoped and expected.
Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor.
by Ethan Bronner, The New York Times,
March 15, 2013.
"Most Americans don’t realize that you can have your home taken away, your children taken away and you can be a victim of domestic violence but you have no constitutional right to a lawyer to protect you."
JAMES J. SANDMAN, president of the Legal Services Corporation.
State high court rules big foreclosure trustee broke consumer law.
The Seattle Times, by Sanjay Bhatt,
February 28, 2013.
The state Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against a major player in the foreclosure industry, Quality Loan Service, saying it could not act merely as an agent for lenders.
SSI and Children with Disabilities: Just the Facts.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, by By Kathy Ruffing and LaDonna Pavetti,
December 14, 2012.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for low-income disabled children are back in the news, in part because of a recent New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof. Unfortunately, the program is being subject to some sharp criticism that is based on misunderstanding of key issues related to SSI for poor children with disabilities. Discussion and debates concerning this program should be rooted in facts and data, not impressions, misimpressions, and anecdotes. Here, we present basic facts about the program and try to clear up some significant misunderstandings.
Tipping the Scales in Housing Court.
by Matthew Desmond, The New York Times,
November 29, 2012.
Millions of Americans face eviction every year. But legal aid to the poor, steadily starved since the Reagan years, has been decimated during the recession. The result? In many housing courts around the country, 90 percent of landlords are represented by attorneys and 90 percent of tenants are not. This imbalance of power is as unfair as the solution is clear.
Hunger in Plain Sight.
by Mark Bittman, The New York Times,
November 27, 2012.
There are hungry people out there, actually; they’re just largely invisible to the rest of us, or they look so much like us that it’s hard to tell. The Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, better known as SNAP and even better known as food stamps, currently has around 46 million participants, a record high. That’s one in eight Americans — 10 people in your subway car, one or two on every line at Walmart.
Op-ed: Social Security Disability Insurance should not be cut to balance federal budget .
by Alex K.F. Doolittle and Debra Shifrin, The Seattle Times,
November 23, 2012.
King County and the nation will experience larger societal costs if more insurance claimants are denied the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits they have earned, writes guest columnist Alex K.F. Doolittle.
State agrees to cover therapy for autistic children on Medicaid.
Chelsea Bannach, The Spokesman-Review ,
November 8, 2012.
Now autistic children enrolled in the government-subsidized Medicaid program in Washington will have access to ABA therapy.
Census: New gauge shows high of 49.7M poor in US.
The Seattle Times, by Hope Yen,
November 8, 2012.
The ranks of America's poor edged up last year to a high of 49.7 million, based on a new census measure that takes into account medical costs and work-related expenses.
Lawyers answer community need for free legal help.
By Laura McVicker ,The Columbian,
November 8, 2012.
Attorneys in Clark County have offered free legal advice on civil issues for decades. But since the economic recession hit four years ago, the calls to Clark County's Volunteer Lawyers Program have doubled, officials say.
Autism therapy to be covered for children on Medicaid .
The Seattle Times, by Carol M. Ostrom,
October 31, 2012.
Children with autism spectrum disorders insured by the state’s Apple Health program, including those on Medicaid, will be covered for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy under a lawsuit settlement approved by U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones.
See also: Health Care Authority Approves ABA Therapy for Medicaid Children Diagnosed with Autism
The State of Legal Aid.
American Public Media,
October 9, 2012.
Legal aid offices across the country are being decimated by funding cuts. Host Dick Gordon speaks to a man making do with increased pressures and less money. John Whitfield runs a legal aid service in Virginia - and he says he's having to turn people away.
Northwest Justice Project Offer Free Legal Aid - KOHO Radio.
October 8, 2012.
We live in a litigious society, where having a lawyer on your side can sometimes be of critical importance. But those legal bills sure can add up quick.So what happens when lower income people need legal help or advice? Where do they turn for help with foreclosure, difficulties with benefits, or help expunging the record of a minor trying to get a job? Listen to the radio broadcast.
State's high court: Mortgage registry can't foreclose.
The Seattle Times, by Sanjay Bhatt,
August 17, 2012.
The nation's largest electronic mortgage-tracking system, MERS, cannot foreclose on a homeowner in Washington state, the state's highest court ruled Thursday.
Community Advisory Regarding Deferred Action for DREAMers.
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project,
August 15, 2012.
NWIRP has released an advisory to help community members understand President Obama's recent announcement that his administration will be granting deferred action to some undocumented youth who came to the United States when they were children. For up-to-date information, visit www.nwirp.org/dream or call 1-855-31-DREAM (1-855-313-7326).
Educating the Public via Video.
by Pam Weisz, Pro Bono Net,
August 7, 2012.
The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is charged with creating a series of instructive videos for WashingtonLawHelp.org through the federal Communities Connect Network Project (part of the Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program) which aims to increase access to technology and improve legal literacy for unrepresented Washingtonians.
How America's Losing The War On Poverty.
by NPR Staff,
August 4, 2012.
While President Obama and Gov. Romney battle for the hearts and minds of the middle class this election season, there's a huge swath of Americans that are largely ignored. It's the poor, and their ranks are growing.
Seattle's low-wage workforce is barely getting by.
by Melissa Allison, The Seattle Times,
July 27, 2012.
Millions have been forced to rethink the way they live and spend in the fallout from the longest-running economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
- The Meat Grinder: When the debt-collection machine comes for its pound of flesh. by Daniel Walters, The Pacific Northwest Inlander, July 25, 2012.
Death Rate Dropped Where Medicaid Grew, Study Finds.
By Pam Belluck, The New York Times,
July 25, 2012.
Into the maelstrom of debate over whether Medicaid should cover more people comes a new study by Harvard researchers who found that when states expanded their Medicaid programs and gave more poor people health insurance, fewer people died.
- Making a world of difference. By Mary Schramm, Contributing reader The Wenatchee World, July 6, 2012.
Legal Help for the Poor In "State of Crisis".
Morning Edition, NPR,
June 15, 2012.
Amid a funding crunch, more than 60 million people now qualify for civil legal aid, advocates say.
The relentless push to bleed Legal Services dry.
Remapping Debate, by Heather Rogers,
June 6, 2012.
Ask people about the things that make America a “country of laws,” and one answer you will likely get is that everyone is entitled to be represented by a lawyer of his or her choice. But that promise has little meaning to more and more families at or near the poverty level.
White House and LSC Co-Host Forum on the State of Civil Legal Assistance.
Legal Services Corporation,
April 19, 2012.
At a White House forum April 17 on the state of civil legal assistance, co-hosted by LSC, President Obama said that making civil legal assistance available to low-income Americans is “central to our notion of equal justice under the law,” and pledged to be a “fierce defender and advocate” for legal services.
Northwest Justice Project Director César Torres to Participate in White House Forum on Legal Aid.
Legal Services Corporation,
April 13, 2012.
Washington, DC – Northwest Justice Project (NJP) Executive Director César Torres is one of six legal services program directors selected to participate in a White House forum examining the state of civil legal assistance for low-income Americans. The forum, cohosted by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), will take place on Tuesday, April 17.
Going It Alone.
by Chris Stein,
April 11, 2012.
In civil court, fewer people are getting lawyers to help them navigate the system.
Filling a gap in legal coverage.
by Jerry Large, The Seattle Times,
April 5, 2012.
New initiative gives the cash-strapped middle class more access to legal help.
Juvenile Justice Presentation.
April 2, 2012.
Videos: Special presentations to the Washington State Supreme Court on Juvenile Justice and Racial Disproportionality
Experts study racial fairness of Washington's juvenile justice system.
by King 5 News,
March 28, 2012.
Young people who had run-ins with law enforcement got a chance Wednesday to tell their stories to the state Supreme Court in Olympia.
Tenants reach settlement with Shogun Plaza owner.
by Ashley Korslien & KREM.com,
March 27, 2012.
SPOKANE-- NJP's Spokane office helped more than 30 people who lived in the Shogun Plaza reach a settlement with the building's owner.
Justice in Motion — Free civil legal services at Northwest Justice Project.
The Daily World, by Sarah Glorian,
March 20, 2012.
Northwest Justice Project provides free civil legal services to people who are low-income and to seniors.
Court rules on children, their right to attorney .
The Seattle Times, by Maureen O'Hagan,
March 2, 2012.
Should a child be granted the right to an attorney when his parents are accused of abuse or neglect?
Cuts in legal aid would harm those already financially strapped.
The Seattle Times, by Richard McDermott and Barbara Madsen,
February 29, 2012.
Guest columnists Richard McDermott, presiding judge of the King County Superior Court, and Barbara Madsen, chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court, voice concern that at a time of increasing legal needs for low-income residents, legal aid resources are facing cuts.
Washington AG Says Settlement Will Help Struggling Homeowners.
KUOW 94.9, by Amy Radil,
February 10, 2012.
After a year of negotiations, states, federal regulators and five of the biggest lenders have reached a $25 billion settlement to change foreclosure practices. The goal of the settlement is to impose new restrictions on banks and to fund loan modifications for homeowners. Backers hope the agreement will also help stabilize the housing market.
Civil Justice must be for all.
The Wenatchee World, By Chief Justice Barbara Madsen and Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan,
February 9, 2012.
The Great Recession of 2011 has dramatically increased the demand for civil justice for the most vulnerable people in our community. The number of people seeking assistance with cases involving family safety, shelter preservation, predatory lending and access to basic services has grown to unprecedented levels. At the same time, legal aid resources have steadily decreased.
State's share of mortgage settlement: $648 million.
The Seattle Times, by Sanjay Bhatt,
February 9, 2012.
It could take six to nine months for homeowners to find out if they are eligible for the relief, and officials aren't ready to say how many Washington homeowners might benefit.
The Unlikely Reason the Recession is Killing Legal Aid for the Poor.
The Daily Weekly,
January 25, 2012.
With the nation mired in the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to virtually zero in hopes of spurring economic growth. While generally regarded as a sensible and effective strategy, the tactic has had the unintended consequence of crippling hundreds of non-profit organizations that offer legal services for the needy.
Gonzalez sworn in as new justice .
The Olympian, by Brad Shannon,
January 10, 2012.
Justice Steven C. Gonzalez was sworn in as the newest state Supreme Court justice Monday, a historic move that diversifies the court’s makeup. Gonzalez also adds a strong voice for improving the public’s access to the costly justice system.
Gonzalez joins Washington state Supreme Court.
January 9, 2012.
Steven Gonzalez was sworn in Monday as the newest member of the Washington state Supreme Court.
Equal Justice Coalition Newsletter.
Equal Justice Coalition,
December 19, 2011.
Read the latest newsletter from the EJC featuring an interview with NJP attorney Lili Sotelo of the Foreclosure Prevention Unit.
Is the new Foreclosure Act Saving Homes?.
King 5.com, by Jesse Jones,
December 8, 2011.
The Foreclosure Fairness Act is supposed to help financially troubled homeowners. But new statistics from the state show that the program is only helping a small number of people keep their homes.
Even the rich (in experience) need a little help sometimes.
The Wenatchee World, by Rufus Woods,
November 29, 2011.
A Wenatchee veteran and longtime musician was two days away from having the county foreclose on his house before some community members stepped forward to help him with back taxes.
- Local 'pro bono' program provides free legal representation. The Daily News Online, by Cathy Zimmerman, November 7, 2011.
Farm workers at risk: EEOC wins NW harassment settlements.
By Eric Scigliano, Crosscut.com,
October 26, 2011.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sues a series of Northwest employers for letting foremen harass and assault immigrant workers. Civil rights attorneys say abused farm and janitorial workers are just starting to come forward.
New foreclosure law has serious growing pains.
King 5.com, by Jesse Jones,
October 5, 2011.
The new state law that helps homeowners facing foreclosure isn't working like it should. The Foreclosure Fairness Act is supposed to get homeowners into mediation to stop foreclosures, but there have been some long delays for homeowners.
When lawyers are welcomed in the doctors' offices.
by Sally James, Crosscut.com,
September 23, 2011.
A innovative program has been providing legal help for struggling families to deal with health-related disparities. It seems to have worked fine, but now funding has come to an end.
Foreclosure mediation can begin with new law.
September 1, 2011.
The Foreclosure Fairness Act allows struggling homeowners to meet with their lender and go through mediation in hopes of working things out.
New state law targets deceptive loan mod practices.
August 8, 2011.
The goal of a new state law is aimed at forcing lenders and loan servicers to ditch the document shell games, and deceptive loan modification practices.
Rental Housing's Elephant in the Room: The Probable Disparate Impact of Unlawful Detainer Records.
Eric Dunn and Merf Ehman,
July 7, 2011.
WSBA Bar News article written by Eric Dunn of the Northwest Justice Project and Merf Ehman of Columbia Legal Services.
Woman charged 1,052 pct. interest sues payday loan company.
King 5 News,
February 1, 2011.
SEATTLE - A King County woman is taking her payday loan company to court, claiming she was, at one point, charged 1,052 percent interest and that the company is violating new restrictions on payday loan companies put into place in Washington just last year.
New Medicaid computer system plagued with glitches.
The Seattle Times,
December 4, 2010.
Washington's new computer system for processing Medicaid payments is failing to pay so many valid claims that several doctors and clinics have stopped taking new Medicaid patients until they get paid for the ones they've already treated. Others say they soon may need to do the same, or even stop treating Medicaid patients altogether.
Mortgage investors, regulators need to make sure banks do right thing.
The Seattle Times,
November 9, 2010.
Banks that collect fees from servicing delinquent loans and foreclosures don't always act in the best interest of the mortgage investor or the homeowners, who are better served by a loan modification. Guest columnist and NJP Attorney Rory O'Sullivan urges regulators and investors to solve this dilemma.
Good News from the Western District!.
Northwest Justice Project,
October 13, 2010.
The U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington issues Temporary Restraining Order in class action challenging constitutionality of inadequate Disability Lifeline notice and procedure. Recent DSHS change in procedure had resulted in termination of benefits for many disabled persons who had previously been on GAU. This case appears likely to succeed on the merits and could result in the reinstatement of benefits for disabled individuals who were wrongly terminated or terminated with inadequate notice or attention to proper procedure. Read the ruling in its entirety here: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/washington/wawdce/2:2010cv01366/169941/56/
Housing Matters Video: Northwest Justice Project Helps Low-Income Citizens.
Clark Vancouver Television,
October 8, 2010.
A short video produced by CVTV about the services that Northwest Justice Project provides to low-income individuals.
King County extends aid to at-risk and homeless veterans.
August 8, 2010.
County Veterans Citizen Levy Oversight Board members allocated $12,000 to a legal fellowship associated with AmeriCorps, the national service program. The fellowship with the Northwest Justice Project - a nonprofit, publicly funded legal-aid firm - aims to provide free legal assistance to veterans.
King County Veterans Levy will support Legal Aid for veterans.
Metropolitan King County Council,
August 3, 2010.
The King County Veterans Citizen Levy Oversight Board has agreed to provide funding to help finance a legal fellowship with the goal of providing important legal services to King County veterans. The AmeriCorps fellowship is with the Northwest Justice Project and will assist veterans in removing the barriers to housing, employment, and self-sufficiency.
Countrywide settlement cash will refinance Washington foreclosure prevention efforts.
Press Release by the WA Attorney General's Office,
February 11, 2010.
The NJP Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project grant will continue another year!
- Legal Aid for the Poor. Editorial, The Washington Post, November 16, 2009.
- Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project wins national award. The Seattle Times, October 22, 2009.
LSC Releases Updated Report on the Justice Gap in America.
by Legal Services Corporation,
September 30, 2009.
Legal aid programs turn away one person for every client served.
- LSC Board Elects Michael McKay as Vice Chairman. Press Release by Legal Services Corporation, September 22, 2009.
- Make legal aid for the poor higher priority in economic downturn. The Seattle Times Editorial/Opinion by César Torres, July 31, 2009.
- New laws help tenants evicted because of foreclosure. by Sanjay Bhatt, The Seattle Times, July 6, 2009.
- State sued over cuts to disabled kids' care. by Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, June 27, 2009.
- What everyone should know about evictions. Guest Opinion, The Daily World, by Sarah Glorian, June 17, 2009.
Free legal aid available for low-, middle-income homeowners facing foreclosure.
by Eric Pryne, The Seattle Times,
June 17, 2009.
Many homeowners facing foreclosure can get free legal help from a program launched this week by the Washington State Bar Association.
Cesar Torres - Comcast Newsmakers.
December 29, 2008.
Comcast Newsmakers spotlights the Northwest Justice Project!