LAOC's Eviction Prevention Project Gets Boost from Collaborators

cropped-LAOC_Web_Header11.jpg

Winner of a 2018 Mayo Clinic Shared Value Award, the Eviction Prevention Project of Legal Assistance of Olmsted County (LAOC) is continuing its work in the community thanks to additional funding and the help of partners.

The project, which holds clinics on Mondays and Thursdays at the Olmsted County courthouse, offers free legal help to people in court facing eviction. Thanks to a newly awarded grant from Mayo for LAOC’s overall work, a portion will be used to staff the evictions clinic, with help from attorneys with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), and members of the Mayo Clinic legal team, who are serving in a pro bono capacity. IBM attorneys are also contributing to the effort.

As of June 1, 90 of the 207 eviction cases scheduled at the Olmsted County courthouse received help from the evictions clinic. “This is what a legal aid organization needs to be doing,” said Karen Fairbairn Nath, executive director of LAOC. “There are so many people who are living one crisis from not being able to pay their landlord,” she said. Read more.

Mayo Clinic Recognizes SMRLS, LAOC, and Partners With Shared Value Award

Rochester’s famed Mayo Clinic lauded Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) and Legal Assistance of Olmsted County (LAOC) this month for their efforts to prevent evictions in Olmsted County. Along with collaborators Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Olmsted County District Court, LAOC and SMRLS received the 2018 Mayo Clinic Shared Value Award for their “Eviction Prevention” project.  

Mayo’s annual award addresses community-wide health priorities in Olmsted County, and the Eviction Prevention project is designed to help address financial stress and mental health.

Karen Fairbairn Nath, executive director of LAOC noted, “Once a notice of eviction is filed with the court, the eviction is permanently on an individual’s record and may, at minimum, prevent a person from obtaining future rental housing. This often brings on a cascading set of negative effects, including longer-term financial instability and mental health stress for individuals and families, among others.” Read more about the project and award.

MMLA's North Minneapolis Collaborations Featured in Attorney at Law Magazine

MMLA logo Small.jpg

Thanks to funding from philanthropic, social services, and government sources, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (MMLA) has four new projects in two locations to serve the needs of North Minneapolis residents. 

At NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Legal Aid's newest medical-legal partnership had more than 50 patient referrals in the first two months, underscoring the unmet need.

"Referrals come directly from health care staff," says staff attorney, Glen Drew. "I see so many health concerns that neither doctors nor lawyers can solve on our own. This is an opportunity for us to ask the right questions and make some headway on broader social questions and problems."

Legal Aid's work in the NorthPoint Social Services building also includes an attorney-staffed economic development project that recently hosted a criminal expungement workshop. A few blocks away at 800 West Broadway, Legal Aid holds office hours several times a month for pro bono workshops, as well as a Hennepin County based project focused on eviction prevention.

Because of the partnership between neighborhood social service agencies and legal aid, northside residents can access legal help without taking extra time off work or paying for transportation downtown. They can meet with a lawyer in the same building where they receive other services, and with professionals they already trust. Read the full article in Attorney at Law Magazine: "Legal Aid and Community Partners Collaborate in North Minneapolis."

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services Releases Racial Justice Report to Community

SMRLS2015Logo.jpg

This spring, the Racial Justice Committee (RJC) of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) released its 2017 Report to the Community.

The 2017 report highlights SMRLS'
ongoing involvement with several healthcare - legal partnerships, its expungement clinics work in St. Paul, and its “Know Your Rights” anti-offensive speech outreach events.

The annual report has three primary purposes:

  • Create awareness of how SMRLS is involved within the community;
  • Create awareness of the programs that SMRLS offers; and
  • Create awareness of the services that are available within the community.

The Racial Justice Committee serves to welcome all clients, encourage and support a diverse staff, and advocate effectively to eliminate barriers for persons of color and to ensure their equal access to and fair treatment by SMRLS and the legal system. Read the full report