Legal Aid Speaks Out On Screening Inaccuracies Affecting Minneapolis Renters

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Luke Grundman, managing attorney with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and other tenant advocates, have been working toward solutions to the affordable housing shortage in Minneapolis. They’re asking policymakers to overhaul the current tenant screening process, which frequently blocks low-income renters from finding an apartment. Inaccuracies about criminal records, credit history and evictions in a tenant’s screening report, for example, can mean the difference between getting an apartment or not. And fixing a mistake with one tenant screening agency doesn’t automatically resolve it with other agencies.

“It puts a lot of weight on the consumer or tenants to dispute reports, and a lot of tenants don’t have the time to do that,” Grundman said. “Their application has been denied and they’re waiting for this investigation to be conducted. … There’s no incentive for tenant screening organizations to get it right in the first place.” Read more in the Star Tribune.

Resmaa Menakem to Deliver Keynote Address at Statewide Conference

Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP

Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP

Legal Services State Support is pleased to announce that Resmaa Menakem, author, international speaker, justice coach, and expert on conflict mediation and self-care, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Statewide Conference. Menakem is the author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, an examination of white body supremacy in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology.

In his keynote address for the legal services community, Menakem will discuss and define the theory of racialized trauma. He will share his insights on how historical, inter-generational, persistent institutional and personal inequities have impacted each of us and led to a decontextualized and internalized white body supremacy trauma we all carry in our bodies and unknowingly perpetuate in our culture. He will also present a break-out session on somatic-body practices and tools for confronting common historical and perpetual racial myths, including how our cultural experiences play out in our daily lives.

Menakem has appeared on both the Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil as an expert on conflict and violence. He has served as director of counseling services for the Tubman Family Alliance; as behavioral health director for African American Family Services in Minneapolis; as a domestic violence counselor for the Wilder Foundation; as a certified Military and Family Life Consultant for the U.S. Armed Forces; as a trauma consultant for the Minneapolis Public Schools; and as a Cultural Somatics consultant for the Minneapolis Police Department. As a community care counselor, he managed the wellness and counseling services for civilians on fifty-three U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. He currently teaches workshops on cultural somatics for a variety of audiences and is the founder of Justice Leadership Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people improve their abilities to tap into their individual and communal resilience.

Stay-tuned for more information about this year’s conference, Addressing Disparity: A Way Forward, at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, Wednesday, October 23 to Friday, October 25, 2019. Registration will commence in early September.

Video Explainer: How to Use the LawHelpMN Guide

With the advent of the LawHelpMN Guide, your search for legal resources on LawHelpMN.org just got easier. The Guide is a fast and direct tool to help you find exactly what you’re looking for by filtering the site’s resources based on answers to questions about your legal concern or issue. Then, if a referral is sought, the Guide utilizes geographic, income and other eligibility criteria to display a customized list of potential service providers. Best of all, you can email or text yourself the results immediately. Just look for the words “send results” followed by envelope and cell phone icons near the top of the page. Then click on either icon, enter your information, and send.

For a quick how-to-use overview, watch our explainer video!

Hennepin Lawyer Spotlights LawHelpMN.org

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The July/August edition of Hennepin Lawyer magazine features an article on the newly redesigned LawHelpMN.org, by Tom Walsh, executive director of Volunteer Lawyers Network. Appropriately placed in a section titled Community Connections, LawHelpMN 2.0: The Supercharged Legal Resource and Referral Tool for Lawyers and the Public, makes a case for the usefulness of the site for the entire community: pro bono attorneys, legal navigators, the public and any advocate looking for a meaningful range of legal resources and referrals.

Notably, Walsh’s piece introduces the reader to the site’s pivotal tool, the LawHelpMN Guide, and with it, a user’s ability to generate personalized results (legal education materials, links, legal services) based on their unique situation. Read the full article.