WHITE PLAINS – Barbara Finkelstein, CEO of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV), announced the opening of an office in Monticello, Sullivan County – the ninth office for the $16 million non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, comprehensive civil (non-criminal) legal services to those that can’t afford an attorney in the seven counties of the lower and mid-Hudson Valley.
Until now, LSHV has been serving Sullivan County residents from its Newburgh Office in Orange County, with assistance from the staff at its Kingston Office in Ulster County and Poughkeepsie Office in Dutchess. The new office, located at 17 Hamilton Avenue in Monticello within the Catholic Charities of Orange and Sullivan County’s Supportive Services Building, will enable LSHV to better serve the Sullivan community, as well as cut-down on transportation time and expenses for both clients and our staff. For now, the office will be staffed, part-time, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In 2016, LSHV handled more than 550 cases benefiting Sullivan County residents with almost half focusing on preventing homelessness for children and families. Speaking of LSHV’s efforts to prevent housing evictions and foreclosures, Rachel Simons, Attorney-in-Charge of LSHV’s Newburgh Office said, “By assisting low-income residents with foreclosure counseling, mortgage modification and eviction prevention, not only do we ensure fairness in the justice system for all, but ultimately, we reduce homelessness, stabilize communities, and keep families in their homes so they can retain and build assets and break the cycle of poverty.”
The Right to Housing is recognized in a number of international human rights instruments including in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as part of the right to an adequate standard of living. LSHV’s Housing Stability Program for Children and Families provides legal advice and counsel, and brief or extended representation, to homeowners in foreclosure and tax proceedings by educating them on their legal rights and defending them in negotiations with creditors and the courts especially as it relates to predatory lending and other origination issues, home equity/deed theft, tax liens, and foreclosure avoidance cases. Additionally, through this Program, LSHV assists tenants in unwarranted eviction cases to help low-income families retain protected/subsidized housing and remain productive members of society.
LSHV’s services are available to individuals and families living at or below 200% of the Federal Income Poverty Guideline unable to afford an attorney in civil (non-criminal) cases affecting their basic human needs. In the mid-Hudson Valley (Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan), there are more than 550,000 people eligible for LSHV’s services. When a crisis strikes and these individuals and families are faced with a legal issue due to the loss of a job, diagnosis of an illness, domestic violence, home foreclosure and so much more, they do not have the resources to secure legal advice and representation.
The organization is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Since its founding, LSHV has helped more than 300,000 poor, low-income, disabled and/or vulnerable individuals and families across the seven counties of the lower and mid-Hudson Valley. With nine offices across its seven County service area, LSHV has 136 staff members, including more than 82 attorneys and 27 paralegals. In 2016, LSHV’s staff handled more than 15,500 cases impacting more than 36,000 household members.
For more information about LSHV, please visit its website www.lshv.org.