Legal services – Farris Law Firm Sat, 15 Jan 2022 09:19:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Legal services – Farris Law Firm 32 32 County of Ulster announces emergency housing action plan Sat, 15 Jan 2022 09:19:24 +0000

KINGSTON.Ulster County has established an emergency action plan for housing, with the state’s eviction moratorium set to expire on January 15.

In conjunction with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, the county has a plan to coordinate with the County Department of Social Services and other critical community partners to provide evictees with emergency housing options.

The county is also prepared for the unlikely scenario of emergency housing reaching capacity by contracting additional hotels and creating emergency shelters.

“With the end of the eviction moratorium approaching, we are 100 per cent committed to ensuring that no one in Ulster County is without a roof over their head,” said County Manager Pat Ryan. “We have worked with the Ulster County Sheriff, the Department of Social Services and our emergency management team to develop our emergency accommodation action plan. We are confident that with all the measures we have put in place, we will not see an increase in homelessness due to the end of the eviction moratorium.

As the eviction deadline approaches, the Sheriff’s Office and Social Services have developed a process to connect residents with an eviction warrant to the DSS 14 days prior to an eviction to ensure that they are offered emergency housing. Tenants in need will also be put in touch with Hudson Valley Legal Services for legal assistance.

For emergency housing:

  • DSS Hotline at (845) 334-5360: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Family of Woodstock After Hours Emergency Housing Hotline at (845) 338-2370: evenings, weekends and holidays

The state’s emergency rental assistance program has reopened application portal. Tenants who have qualified COVID-related difficulties can contact local agencies in partnership with the county for language translation, technology access, and general assistance in applying for the program. The agencies are:

  • Woodstock family: (845) 331-7080 / 845-679-2485 (anonymous)
  • Catholic Charities: (845) 340-9170
  • RUPCO: (845) 331-2140
  • Hudson Valley Legal Services: (845) 331-9373

Additionally, the Ulster County Warming Center remains open 24 hours a day. Run by Catholic charities, it is located at 2nda Iglesia La Mision Church, 80 Elmendorf Street in Kingston. For more information, call 845-481-4029 or visit

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]]> Mayor Adams calls for ‘immediate’ injection of funds for NYC’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program Thu, 13 Jan 2022 21:33:45 +0000

Mayor Eric Adams is calling for an immediate injection of funds for the United States Treasury Department’s New York City Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The mayor also announced new measures to support tenant protection and inform tenants of their rights, with significant outreach efforts.

“The federal government has the resources, and now is the time for them to act with an immediate injection of funds for the Emergency Rent Assistance Program,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “New York has had the very short end of the stick, and I join Senator Schumer and Governor Hochul in demanding this change. Additionally, I encourage everyone to take advantage of all the resources available to you, know your rights, and protect yourself from deportation.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created a housing crisis, leaving thousands of New Yorkers worried about being evicted from their homes. As the statewide eviction moratorium is set to end this Saturday, we are working to improve access to free tenant assistance for all New Yorkers, regardless of rental status. lease or immigration,” said Sheena Wright, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives. “Our Public Engagement Unit will fulfill the Mayor’s promise to improve access to services and support by meeting tenants at their doorsteps, on their phones and in their communities to connect them to essential city services and help people facing eviction to access free legal support.”

City Hall has issued these reminders:

– Lockouts are illegal – no one should be self-evicting.

– All tenants have the right to stay in the homes unless they choose to leave or are evicted through formal legal process.

– Under the NYC Right to Counsel Act, legal services are free and available to everyone.

The mayor’s office says funding for emergency housing assistance is limited, but a pending PARE application will provide temporary protection from eviction.

“Throughout the pandemic, our dedicated DSS-HRA staff and nonprofit legal provider partners have done invaluable work connecting New Yorkers experiencing housing instability to the resources and services needed to stay at home. them. As we approach the impending expiration of the area’s eviction moratorium, this administration stands ready to support any New Yorker facing eviction or falling behind on rent, including through the first our city’s right to legal assistance program, which will help vulnerable New Yorkers fight illegal evictions, keep their homes, and avoid homelessness altogether,” said Gary Jenkins, Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration.

Residents can call 311 for the Tenant Help Line for assistance.

Requests to repossess housing in Quebec increase six months before moving day Tue, 11 Jan 2022 20:58:44 +0000

“We’ve had about 50 percent more cases,” says a legal services group that advises landlords and tenants in Quebec.

Content of the article

Before Christmas, some tenants in Quebec received more than greeting cards in the mail. They have also received notices from their owners that they intend to repossess their homes.

Content of the article

For leases ending June 30, 2022, landlords had until December 31 to announce their intention to repossess a home. Tenants have one month to respond, and failure to do so is considered a refusal to repossess.

Neolegal, an organization that advises landlords and tenants, has seen demand for its legal services in such cases increase compared to December 2020 and January 2021.

“Last year, we had a few files,” explained lawyer Cybèle Prince. “But now I see we’ve had about 50% more cases.”

Prince said the state of the housing market was having an effect and new buyers were wondering how to repossess units.

Data compiled last year by the Regroupement des committees logement et associations de tenantes du Québec (RCLALQ) also showed a significant increase in attempts by new owners to repossess their homes or to evict tenants.

Content of the article

The law allows repossession under certain conditions. The unit is to be used to house the owner or close relatives such as children or parents. It is only allowed when the owner is a single owner or a couple. “If, for example, I buy a property with a friend, I cannot repossess the unit,” Prince said.

Prince said she advises homeowners to have a “serious plan” in the long term to avoid bad faith lawsuits.

“It can happen. For example, we see that repossession is authorized, but ultimately the person who should occupy the accommodation is no longer there,” she said, explaining that the law does not set a period. minimum period during which an owner must stay in a dwelling after repossession.

A tenant can always challenge a repossession.

“It’s really up to the landlords to prove (to the Administrative Housing Tribunal) that they really want to repossess the home for the person and not for other reasons,” Prince said. “The judge will ask questions about the project, about what he was planning.

She recommended that tenants refuse repossessions or wait for a month’s notice to negotiate with the landlord and find out more about the project.

The law also prohibits repossession when one of the occupants is over 70 years old, has lived there for more than 10 years and has an annual income which makes him eligible for social housing.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

]]> Will Charlie Baker Commute the Life Sentence of a Convicted Murderer? Mon, 10 Jan 2022 02:32:02 +0000

The recommendation was the first time since Baker took office in 2015 that the board, which also serves as the state parole board, has petitioned him for his approval; in September, he sent him a second, recommending that he also commute the life sentence of William Allen, 48, who was convicted of participating in a fatal armed robbery against a drug trafficker. drug known to Brockton in 1994.

Last month, the commission held four more pardon hearings, including one asking for a commutation and three asking for pardons. A commutation reduces an inmate’s sentence, paving the way for immediate release or parole eligibility, while a pardon erases a conviction.

The increase in activity, combined with Baker’s self-imposed deadline to act on petitions, is fueling optimism among legal observers that the state may adopt leniency for the first time in years.

Approval of the petitions would send “a message that Governor Baker is interested and willing to correct decades of systemic racial injustice,” said lawyer Patricia DeJuneas, who represents Allen. “It is about humanity, human dignity and human rights. And it’s about doing the right thing.

Under guidelines issued by Baker in 2020, he has one year to act on a recommendation from the board of directors, which, in Koonce’s case, was made on January 14. If Baker agrees, the petition would go to the eight-person board of governors for final approval. at least two members publicly support the commutation of Koonce’s sentence.

But if Baker chooses not to act at all, Koonce’s request for pardon is dead. He will have to wait a year before he can renew his application, said his lawyer, Timothy C. Foley.

Foley said he met Baker’s legal team in September and again on December 20 and was told the governor was still reviewing Koonce’s petition.

“They tell me it’s a very current problem,” Foley said. “Sir. At this point, Koonce is praying that Governor Baker will accept the advisory council’s recommendation and grant clemency.”

A spokesperson for Baker said the governor is still reviewing “recent recommendations” from the board.

The case is closely watched in justice and criminal justice circles, in part for its timing. Baker said last month he would not seek re-election, which means he is now entering the final year of his two-term mandate – a period often seen as ripe for such politically sensitive decisions.

The only clemency petitions the state has approved in nearly 20 years came in the final months of Gov. Deval Patrick’s second term, when he approved four pardons and the commutation of convicted drug trafficker Deanne Hamilton. 49 years old. Acting Governor Jane Swift approved seven pardons in 2002, also in her final year in office. Between the two, Governor Mitt Romney has not approved any.

The last time a life sentence was commuted in Massachusetts was in 1997, when Gov. William Weld recommended to the Governing Council that the sentence of Joseph Salvati, who spent 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

This relative caution dates back decades, fueled in part by what Daniel Medwed, a Northeastern law professor, called the “Willie Horton effect” – the ever-looming shadow created when Horton, a convicted murderer, brought home. raped a woman on a weekend break in 1987. Horton was subsequently the subject of a now infamous political advertisement, helping to sink the 1988 presidential candidacy of then governor Michael Dukakis.

“After Willie Horton, there was this perception that the parole board would be very careful with all release decisions,” Medwed said.

Decades later, during Patrick’s tenure, Dominic Cinelli, a career parolee criminal, shot and killed a Woburn police officer in a December 2010 robbery. Five parole board members later resigned , some alleging that Patrick forced them to leave.

“You have this culture which over the past 30 years has been more politically careful,” Medwed said.

Beyond the approval of five clemency petitions, Patrick in 2008 denied a commutation petition for Arnold King, who was convicted of shooting a Boston political assistant in 1971. King was released in 2020 by a judge who overturned his conviction for first degree murder on the basis of the evidence. that prosecutors deliberately excluded black residents from an all-white jury that found him guilty.

Even now, few petitions are heard and even fewer reach the governor. Since Baker took office in 2015, the Pardons Advisory Board has only brought forward 13 hearing requests, with Koonce being the first. In the past two years, 181 prisoners have filed petitions, 116 of which have requested commutations.

The fact that so few of them were sent for governor review, lawyers say, underscores Massachusetts’ conservative record on leniency despite its reputation as a progressive policy, especially on civil rights. The state, for example, ranks in the bottom third of states for frequency of pardons, according to a study by the nonprofit Collateral Consequences Resource Center.

This is in part a reflection of a tough mentality towards crime that has permeated the thinking of politicians “as a way to win an election,” said Pauline Quirion, director of CORI and the Re-entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services.

“Mercy is meant to be an act of mercy,” Quirion said. “With the state of things right now, there doesn’t seem to be any mercy, at least at this point.”

Thomas Koonce in his Navy uniform, taken to Marine Boot Camp in 1985 when he was 18.

Koonce, the Brockton native whose claim is now in Baker’s hands, was a 20-year-old Marine on leave when he shot dead Mark Santos, 24, as he fled an angry mob in New Bedford. He said he accidentally killed Santos and rejected a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to manslaughter and serve five to ten years in prison.

His first trial ended with a suspended jury. In 1992, an all-white jury convicted Koonce, who is black, of first degree murder, resulting in a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. He served 29 years in prison.

The victim’s mother, Virginia Santos, said on Tuesday that she “prayed all the time” that Koonce would never be released and hopes Baker rejects her request to be switched.

“I will always feel the same,” Santos said. “He’s where he belongs.”

In recommending that his sentence be commuted, the council noted that Koonce had no criminal record, was honorably released by the Marines, and during his decades in prison, participated in numerous programs aimed at preventing violence and to recognize the harm done to victims and their families. .

In 2010, the prosecutor who secured Koonce’s conviction said in a commutation hearing that the case had worried his conscience because he did not believe the evidence supported a conviction for first degree murder. He said he feared Koonce did not get a fair trial because his lawyer failed to question potential jurors about racial bias.

William Allen, 19, spent nearly 28 years in prison for a murder in 1994 and is waiting for Governor Charlie Baker to rule on his commutation request.
William Allen, 19, spent nearly 28 years in prison for a murder in 1994 and is waiting for Governor Charlie Baker to rule on his commutation request. Patricia De Juneas

In Allen’s case, even though another man involved in the robbery stabbed Purvis Bester to death, Allen was convicted of first degree murder because a jury found he had participated in a crime that resulted in death. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Before trial, Allen could have agreed to a deal in which he would have pleaded guilty to second degree murder and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole, but he refused. Prosecutors offered the same deal to the killer, who agreed and has been on parole since 2009. Allen has been in jail for almost 28 years.

The victim’s daughter told the advisory board she believes Allen’s switchover should be granted.

“We shouldn’t have to wait until the last year of a governor’s eight-year term,” Governor Council member Terrence Kennedy said of approving a pardon request. He and fellow Gov. Paul DePalo advisor support Koonce and Allen’s switching petitions. “The system works when you use it. “

Matt Stout can be contacted at Follow him on twitter @mattpstout. Shelley Murphy can be reached at Follow her on twitter @shelleymurph.

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Black Foodie Celebrating Bay Area’s Hidden Gems: “Our Food Scene Is Special” | Food Sat, 08 Jan 2022 11:02:00 +0000

ggarlic noodles, steak and shrimp laden fries, adult forearm-length crab legs – a brief scroll on Bayareafoodz’s popular Instagram account is enough to plunge you into a digital food coma .

In an area known as one of America’s culinary capitals and an Instagram foodie’s playground, Darion Frazier’s page stands out. It has gathered more than 126,000 followers, not with videos brilliantly produced in the most trendy restaurants, but with tributes to taquerias, greasy spoons and small joints of soul food.

“I live for the wear and tear of furniture and menus at mom and pop restaurants. It tells you the food is good as hell, ”said Darion Frazier, the page owner, spots that hold a special place in his heart.

His playful personality and alluring imagery have drawn thousands of people who come to watch Frazier eat, sometimes donning a black Versace dress, and letting his followers know whether a dish is ‘bussin’ (really good) or a disappointment.

Darion Frazier started the Bayareafoodz Instagram account where he reviews restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photograph: Carolyn Fong / The Guardian

Now, Frazier is expanding its commitment to small, local restaurants with a food delivery service, Plate Pick, which will help home chefs and independent restaurants reach customers. Frazier says the site, which charges restaurants a 5% commission, is believed to be a viable alternative at a time when many restaurants struggle with operating costs on platforms like Doordash, GrubHub and UberEats, which are taking a reduction of 20% or Suite. Plate Pick also offers resources for home chefs for legal services and marketing assistance.

The Oakland native spoke to The Guardian about his hopes for the new business, the challenges of being a black influencer, and why he wants to be a positive force in the San Francisco Bay Area food scene and in the community at large.

“Our gastronomic scene is something special”

Frazier, 29, first encountered the rich Bay Area food scene with friends. He grew up in a low-income apartment complex in West Oakland and says sleepovers and games have exposed him to new smells, tastes and cultures.

“We all lived in the same poverty, but at the end of the day everyone comes home with a different dish,” Frazier recalled. “I spent the night with my Filipino friend and ate adobo, fish and lumpia. Or I would be at my African friend’s house another night and we would eat foufou.

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Traveling to France, Mexico and Thailand in early adulthood also helped him appreciate the Bay Area food scene. “We have some of the best tacos in the world, then you can go somewhere else and get the best burgers of your life. You can get Chinese food, Indian food, Moroccan food, Jollof rice, ”says Frazier. “There is something special about the Bay Area.”

With that in mind, Frazier launched Bayareafoodz in late 2014 to spotlight family businesses that have fed residents for decades and were losing business due to gentrification. “Places that have been around for years and that locals know no longer have their regulars, so I wanted to help.”

With the exception of the occasional selfies, Frazier rarely showed his face until he was two years deep in Bayareafoodz. But since it has gotten more frontal, the page has become a place where people go to hear Frazier’s unfiltered opinion. “My personality is the secret weapon,” he says.

Toriano Gordon, the chef behind Vegan Mob, an always-busy Oakland restaurant that serves plant-based barbecues, soul food, and Creole fare, agrees that authenticity is central to Frazier’s appeal.

Three men work on laptops in a large room
From left to right, Darion Frazier, Andrew Fede and De Jesus Libran are the co-founders of Plate Pick, a food delivery service that helps independent restaurants and home chefs reach customers. Photograph: Carolyn Fong / The Guardian
A man shows something to a woman on his phone
Darion Frazier, right, talks to Lulu Safi, left, at her Maya Halal Taqueria restaurant in Oakland, California. Photograph: Carolyn Fong / The Guardian

“He doesn’t try too hard and that’s why he’s doing so well. His posts are always entertaining, but you can tell this is the real him, ”says Gordon. “It’s a guide to Bay Area food, instead of going to Yelp you’ll have better luck with Bayareafoodz.”

Gordon knew about Frazier’s page through the Bay’s biggest food scene and the couple met in late 2019, shortly after Gordon opened Vegan Mob’s brick-and-mortar location in Oakland. Before starting a professional relationship, Frazier posted videos in front of the location and promoted new menu offerings. Then, once they had a chance to speak, Gordon and Frazier found common ground in their love of food and their dedication to uplifting and supporting others as they climb the ladder of success. .

“I am a big believer in unity, it is imperative that we support each other,” adds Gordon. “I can inspire him but he inspires me too, what he does is innovative and special.”

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The challenges of being a black designer

This success has been built slowly over the past few years. At first, Frazier says he never saw the page as a way to make a living. But as his popularity grew, an offer of $ 3,000 for his page, combined with restaurateurs telling him about the sales increases that occurred immediately after a post, made him reconsider his decision.

Frazier chose not to sell the page and in 2017 started charging food reviews. Her first paid restaurant visit was for $ 25 at a San Francisco deli. Now he charges up to $ 700 for a review and earns income from food and beverage company sponsored posts and Facebook ads.

And recently, he decided to quit his day job at a Kaiser pharmacy to focus on his burgeoning food businesses. “I realized that if I was building Bayareafoodz with some of that time, I think I should get into something that I love to do,” he said.

A man hands a takeout order to another man
Derrek Johnson, right, owner of Home of Chicken and Waffles restaurant in Oakland, hands Darion Frazier a takeout order. Photograph: Carolyn Fong / The Guardian

But he says there have been plenty of challenges along the way, especially as a black creator on Instagram, which Frazier and others say can be barriers to their jobs. In recent years, black social media influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms have waged strikes and digital campaigns to expose wage disparities and alleged limitations that compartmentalize their content based on their race and stifle their exposure.

During the protests and racial calculation in the summer of 2020, Instagram said it will examine potential racial biases in the algorithms they use, but there has been little news of progress since.

“The algorithms can guess the race of users and when they start associating it with black content, they can put it in a corner,” said Kalinda Ukanwa, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Southern California. “It is assumed that their content will not have a wider appeal, which creates a monetization problem as they don’t get that exposure.”

Frazier says he experiences this phenomenon firsthand. “I’m the only black foodie I know in Oakland and I’ve worked really hard, but these algorithms can make it difficult for a brand to develop,” he says, “but I have to live with it. “

A platform for home cooks

With his next business, Plate Pick, Frazier is looking to leverage his social media fame to support home chefs in Alameda County. The county recently implemented a program that allows people to run a business from their kitchen, after California legalized these types of operations in 2018.

A man and woman sip a drink outside a restaurant with a mural of a woman in a hijab
Darion Frazier enjoys a mural with Lulu Safi in front of Maya Halal Taqueria in Oakland, California. Photograph: Carolyn Fong / The Guardian

Frazier became part owner of the company in 2021 alongside tech CEO Andrew Fede. In addition to bringing Bay Area restaurants such as Vegan Mob to the website, Frazier and her team host “legal nights” with county health department staff and lawyers who can help people with get the permits and certification they need to sell food at home.

He hopes the business can succeed without charging home chefs the exorbitant price charged by other delivery companies. “I want to make sure we’re doing our best to help everyone in our community,” Frazier said. “We’re here to say, ‘You can do it! But be legal.

Even with her business goals for the Instagram page and the delivery service, Frazier says her ultimate motivation is to be a positive influence in the Bay Area and a role model, especially for young and impressionable residents. In addition to his food work, he organizes business-boosting treasure hunts for local restaurants and increasingly speaks out on local issues such as gun violence.

“There are a lot of talented people in the bay, especially young African American men and women. But young people only see where the light is shining and sometimes it’s on things that are not totally positive like guns, drugs and alcohol, ”says Frazier. “I want people to know that you can be a designer, you can be an author, you can be a photographer and still have a blast.”

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Armstrong Solicitors Expands Home Transfer Team Thu, 06 Jan 2022 11:22:24 +0000

Pictured (left to right): Jonathan Scullion and Zara Webber

Co Antrim law firm Armstrong Solicitors has announced the appointment of two new attorneys and a legal assistant to its ownership transfer team.

Jonathan Scullion and Zara Webber, who together have more than 20 years of experience in the home transfer business, have joined the company as it considers further expansion this year. Adele Cormack has joined us as a legal assistant.

The firm expects an increasing demand for property transfer services and general street legal services this year, and now plans to expand its current office space to accommodate its growing real estate team.

Meanwhile, the company is implementing a major hardware and software upgrade, including a new case management system and an upgraded version of its own property transfer portal, in anticipation of increased demand. .

Chief Executive Officer Philip Armstrong said Irish legal news: “I am delighted to welcome Zara, Jonathan and Adele to our team.

“There is no substitute for expertise and experience in residential property transfer, and we are extremely proud that they are all committed to advancing their careers at Armstrong Solicitors during this very exciting time of expansion and development. innovation for our practice.

“I have no doubt that they will add significantly to the levels of customer service that we already provide. “

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How to choose a family lawyer Tue, 04 Jan 2022 14:33:35 +0000

Going through a relationship or family breakdown can be one of the most difficult things to deal with. There are a number of options available to people going through this emotional time, whether in counseling, mediation, or legal advice. Contacting a lawyer for advice and help is often a difficult step to consider and can often increase your anxiety, especially since this may be the first time you should consider speaking with a lawyer. The IBB team are very experienced in dealing with these situations and guiding you through what can be a really difficult landscape.

First, determine if a lawyer is the person you need to talk to at this point. If you feel like the relationship has broken down or want to understand what your options are if things are not resolved, this guide can help you understand what to look for in a family lawyer to help you. go forward.

1. Research

Do your research and try to find a family lawyer from a reputable company that you think you can work well with. Consider whether mediation (a process where the two parties discuss their situation with a qualified mediator in a less formal setting to try to move forward and come to an agreement) can also help you so that you can discuss this option with a lawyer. At IBB we have good relations with a number of mediators and also offer this service to clients.

Talk to friends and family for recommendations, and see if the people you think you want to teach are members of Resolution. This means that they take a reasonable and friendly approach to disputes. Please visit for more information about the organization and its code of conduct.

Consider what additional services the company offers to support your trip. At IBB we have an in-house wealth management team who can answer any financial questions regarding the future and what it looks like. We have strong links in the region with other experts who may be able to assist you in other areas as well.

2. Talk to lawyers

If possible, try talking to a lawyer to get a feel for his approach and if you think you can work with him. Don’t be afraid to ask for a short call so you can ask relevant questions about how they work and the details of your situation. If you think you’ve found a good candidate, ask them if they offer an initial consultation. At IBB, we offer a fixed fee first meeting at a reduced rate that gives the opportunity to raise questions, understand your options and get to know your lawyer.

3. Approach

Think about which approach will work best in your situation. While the goal should be to resolve issues amicably in order to save time and money, there are times when you need a solid and experienced lawyer to represent you in a legal proceeding. litigation and advise you on a strategic approach to the situation to get things done. in the right way for you. You will be able to get an idea of ​​the approach of a notary during a first meeting with him but you will also have to discuss your point of view on this subject, because you will know your partner and how amicable he can be. or not.

4. Costs

Think about how you can fund the process, and ask for a worst-case and best-case estimate early on. At IBB, we will discuss as soon as possible the various options available to you to enable you to make informed decisions about your next steps. We take a team approach to your work where certain aspects of the work are done by a junior member of the team who is able to do it at a lower rate to keep overall costs down while being overseen by partners. We have good relationships with a number of reputable companies that offer litigation loans in appropriate circumstances and we can put you in touch with these companies if it helps you fund your case.

At IBB, we fully understand the concerns you will have as you embark on this journey, whatever your situation. We hope you find this short guide helpful if you find yourself at the start of this journey and not sure which step to take first.

Talk to our family law experts

Yasmin Kibble is a lawyer in the Family team and can be contacted on 01895 207 834 or

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After a year on the job, San Diego’s director of immigration affairs worries most about housing Sun, 02 Jan 2022 14:00:02 +0000

Farhat Popal is the Director of Immigrant Affairs for the City of San Diego. This year was his first post, which in itself is new for San Diego.

Her job is to make sure municipal services are accessible to immigrants and to find ways for San Diego to better support its immigrant communities. This means examining how the issues faced by San Diego residents particularly affect immigrants, including housing costs.

Prior to her work in the city, Popal worked extensively in the area of ​​human rights, including women’s rights and immigrant rights, in the United States and Afghanistan. She is a member of the Truman National Security Project Fellow and a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

The Union-Tribune asked Popal to reflect on the past year and what she expects to see in 2022.

Question: What has been the biggest challenge in your job as an Immigration Manager over the past year?

A: According to the UNHCR, 1 in 95 people on Earth have fled their homes as a result of conflict or persecution. In San Diego this year, this was manifested in the needs of the unaccompanied migrant children we supported at the Convention Center from March to July; the challenges faced by Haitian migrants and the needs of the community as a result of the events in Haiti; and the resettlement and integration needs of Afghan families arriving in our region. The biggest challenge has been to find concrete and sustainable ways to support our community of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and asylum seekers while trying to meet the immediate needs of specific populations due to these types of problems. ‘events.

Question: Did something surprise you about your job?

A: It’s no surprise, but something that really struck and inspired me this year is the vast network of amazing community organizations in our region that serve and support people in need every day. From our refugee resettlement agencies, ethnic community organizations, advocacy groups and organizations, volunteer groups, service groups, faith-based organizations, etc., this network does a heroic job of ensuring that no San Diegan is left over. I started in this role in January, and as I complete my first year, I am extremely grateful for the partnership of these organizations and look forward to working closely together next year.

Question: What problems or concerns keep you from sleeping at night?

A: The high cost of living in our region and the impact this has on the ability of our community of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and asylum seekers to be successful in their lives keeps me from sleeping at night . While this impacts the lives of many San Diego residents, our foreign-born population may already be at a disadvantage given the challenges and impacts of migration, resettlement, and the rebuilding process in their new home.

This can hamper their ability to find safe and stable housing; may require multiple jobs to make ends meet; can make it impossible to create generational wealth; and more. Our foreign-born population is extremely entrepreneurial, but we need to do a better job of ensuring equitable access to opportunities for all. Mayor Gloria and city leaders are working on it and I know we will see some progress.

Lots of other things keep me awake at night: how to support our undocumented population; how to defend DACA beneficiaries; how to ensure equitable access to education and economic opportunities to improve economic mobility; how to build better trust between communities and government; and more.

Question: What do you think of the situation of the newly arrived Afghans in San Diego?

A: Our region’s refugee resettlement agencies, community organizations, Afghan-American groups, resident-led volunteer groups and many more have been working day and night to support incoming Afghans and create the welcoming environment. that these families deserve. But the challenges are immense: securing permanent housing remains difficult, and it delays other aspects of resettlement and integration – and this applies to all refugee populations arriving in our region. They have also experienced traumatic trips, and the sooner they have stability in their life, the faster they can rebuild themselves.

Question: What do you hear from the Afghan and Afghan American community in San Diego? How have people been since the Taliban took power?

A: It has been a very difficult time for our Afghan and Afghan-American community, many of whom still have family members in Afghanistan who are at risk of violence, marginalization and now starvation. It has also been a difficult time for our veterans community and the countless individuals and organizations that have taken action to try to keep America’s promise to help allies and their families to safety. . And that pain and worry will not be a short-term reaction but a long-term feeling that these communities will grapple with – to see Afghanistan’s progress in 20 years wiped out in a matter of weeks is traumatic in itself.

Question: What do you think you will focus on in your role as immigration officer in the coming year?

A: My goal is to identify concrete things we can do now while working on strategic planning for the future, which includes amplifying the great work already being done by community and regional partners; identify where there may be gaps; and where the city is uniquely positioned to fill some of these gaps. It also means ensuring that all city services are provided with an eye on immigrant inclusion and access.

Question: What is the important question for immigrants that is not making the headlines?

A: So many immigrants need access to affordable legal services, whether it’s adjusting their legal status, gaining access to representation for detention and removal hearings, or a number of other situations that require the expertise of licensed professionals. Legal representation often makes the difference between success or failure in court. We have a large network of pro bono and low cost legal service providers, but it is understandable that they are inundated with the immense needs of the population. The county has set up a legal representation fund for immigrants facing deportation proceedings, and this is a really important step in the right direction.

Question: What hope or dream do you have for San Diego in 2022?

A: My hope is that all residents of San Diego will be healthy, safe, and economically secure; that we all take the time to focus on our physical, mental and social well-being; and may our region be able to mobilize resources and support to ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors are not left behind as we seek to recover from this unprecedented global pandemic.

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Help Starts with a Call for Domestic Violence Victims in Indiana | Politics Fri, 31 Dec 2021 19:38:33 +0000

Although she was heavily involved in high school activities such as cheerleading, starring in school plays and getting good grades, the family life of a victim was another. story.

Jane Doe’s family consisted of her alcoholic father, manipulative and emotionally abusive older siblings, and a stay-at-home mom who made sure she was showered with love despite the inconveniences.

“My mother was the only true love I had in my life. I was fortunate enough to know her for the 17 years I had before God brought her home,” Doe said.

She was confused, broken, and lived in constant fear. After Doe’s mother lost her battle with breast cancer, she felt more lonely than ever. Soon after, her father started dating a new wife and decided to sell his childhood home, leaving his daughter to fend for herself.

Doe found herself with friends more often, drank heavily, smoked cannabis, and began dating men who mirrored her father’s behavior.

After having children, she constantly trained and went on crazy diets to maintain the appearance of a trophy wife, only to be yelled at, gunned down and abandoned to raise her children on her own.

“I tried to make it work the best I knew how, just sitting there and looking pretty,” Doe said. “I thought if I was pretty and did what I was told to do, I would kind of realize my fairy tale of a happy family.”

To support herself and her children, she took a job in a bar.

After some time after working shift after shift at the bar, she had met a man who she thought could end the cycle of her insanity. She had finally decided to stop working and become a full-time stay-at-home mom and housewife. That was until she found out about her heavy methamphetamine addiction.

During that time, she had given birth to two baby boys, but the family had been homeless for five years because she said he preferred her addiction to her and their children. She had finally had enough.

“My sobriety and his addiction were never going to mix. They weren’t supposed to mix, ”she said.

After staying strong on her own for so long, she decided to end the vicious cycle and made an important appeal to Sheltering Wings, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

A place for new beginnings

Sheltering Wings, located in Danville, Indiana, has served its community since 2002 and currently has 40 residents, almost evenly split between women and children.

There, residents have the opportunity to escape their abusive relationships and rebuild themselves with protective housing and programs that residents can participate in.

Cassie Mecklenburg, Executive Director of Sheltering Wings, has worked with the shelter for eight years and oversees the administrative team and the direct services team. This includes fundraising, community relations, strategic planning and more.

“When people hear what I’m doing, they ask me or make a comment about how difficult it must be and the terrible reason we need an organization like this,” Mecklenburg said. “And while this is all true, what I find so inspiring about what we do is the tremendous amount of hope and opportunity for change.”

Some of these opportunities include adopting empowerment support groups, which consist of three stages, each of which must be completely completed before moving on to the next. The first is called Domestic Violence 101, a five-week course for residents of the shelter for less than 45 days. The second course is Self Love, an eight week course; the last course is Boundaries, another eight week course.

Outside of class, residents have their own private bedroom and bathroom to get away from it all if they wish, while having access to numerous bedrooms to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

At designated times, they can go to the fully equipped kitchen and pantry and prepare their own meals. While mothers prepare meals, children can occupy themselves in an annex room filled with toys and games.

There are also two laundry rooms located on both sides of the refuge for quicker access to cleaning clothes, a computer lab for all internet-related needs, and a chapel to help residents practice their faith.

Children and adolescents also have their own room to relax. The kids’ room has toys, games, and books for the little ones, while the teens have a sofa and TV for games on PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii.

All of this help can start with what’s called a crisis call. People in need can call the shelter’s emergency number, then come in and do a crisis assessment, answering questions that would qualify them for housing. Once approved, they have 24 hours to fully move into the shelter.

The average stay at Sheltering Wings is approximately 60 to 90 days. While there is technically no maximum length of stay for a resident, a person can get an extension every 30 days if they proactively work toward new goals such as finding affordable housing or starting a new job.

December 27 will be a year at Sheltering Wings for Doe. Since her stay, she has followed the programs, taken classes and therapy sessions, and even participated in group meetings to discuss progress.

For Donita Roberts, Events and Administration Coordinator for Sheltering Wings, getting to know the residents who are staying longer has a big impact on her.

“Some residents who stay longer get to know you,” said Roberts. “It’s nice to get to know them and to interact better. This is what is impactful and meaningful. This is what keeps you going.

Know the numbers

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, more than one in three women has experienced rape, physical violence and / or harassment by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Nationally, an average of three women are killed each day by a current or former intimate partner.

One organization that is working in several ways to prevent these numbers from rising is the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

There are seven barriers to surviving domestic violence according to the ICADV website. These barriers are overcrowded shelters, inability to pay utility bills or services, lack of education and skills training, limited safety nets, lack of housing, inaccessible legal assistance, and lack of resources. reliable transportation.

Laura Berry, Executive Director of ICADV for 27 years, has been involved and working with all 92 counties in Indiana to ensure programs and resources are available. This includes support programs providing education and training, quality assurance standards, technical assistance and legal services.

ICADV started a campaign called The Stigma Reduction Campaign because survivors wanted more public awareness about the impact and reduced shame and judgment of being a survivor.

“Everything we do tries to create safe, stable and nurturing environments from birth,” said Berry.

The legal side

According to, the laws that apply to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault come from state laws. This includes dealing with protection orders, divorce, custody, crimes, etc.

ICADV also strongly supports the legal aspect of domestic violence. By having a legal services program, it provides free services and representation to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, immigration and human trafficking.

Kerry Hyatt Bennett, Chief Legal Counsel of ICADV since 2005, helps guide approximately 65 centers with all legal matters as an individual business entity. For example, if someone from a shelter in Evansville has an emergency hearing coming up and does not have access to a lawyer, they can be referred to Hyatt Bennett and they will then help them find a lawyer in that area. .

“It’s scary to go to court. It’s scary to go to court to represent you and it’s especially scary to go to court to represent you against someone who has hurt or threatened you, ”Hyatt Bennett said. “So we kind of level the playing field by making sure they have a lawyer who is well trained in this area of ​​the law. “

Understanding the signs

In order to prevent domestic violence, a main tactic is to recognize the signs.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, signs for recognizing an abuser can include: the abuser telling you that you are never doing anything right, showing extreme jealousy towards your friends, or showing time away from home. ‘them ; preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family or peers; insult, demean or humiliate you, especially in front of other people; preventing you from making your own decisions, including about work or school, and a few others.

One or two of these behaviors can be a red flag that the relationship may be abusive and it’s time to seek help.

NDVH also recognizes that relationships at first can seem perfect and that these behaviors may not always show up overnight. Every relationship is different, and domestic violence may not always seem to be the same.

Whatever the event or event, someone experiencing domestic violence and in need of immediate help can call the NDVH number, 1-800-799-SAFE or send a START SMS to 88788.

Doe recognized the red flags in her relationship and made the life-changing call. She never gave up.

“I kept going, no matter how badly things got or how many tears I shed,” Doe said. “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to let the light inside you.”

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Travis County eviction protections extended through March 1 Thu, 30 Dec 2021 02:56:27 +0000

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – A Travis County judge on Wednesday announced extended eviction protections for tenants through March 1, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from Travis County said Judge Nick Chu, Justice of the Peace for Travis County, PCT. 5, issued the order, which requires eviction trials for unpaid rent to be suspended for 30 days, so tenants have time to obtain financial assistance, consult a volunteer lawyer and / or negotiate a settlement, without the need for an eviction.

“The judges are doing what we can to make sure our community is protected as best we can,” said Chu.

The order runs until March 1, as that is the day justices of the peace lose the ability to change rules and procedures under an emergency order from the Texas Supreme Court.

Chu said it was important to extend those protections due to the prevalence of the omicron variant as well as Austin-Travis County’s official move to step 4 of its risk-based guidelines on Wednesday.

“These kind of us have signaled the need to maintain some of these protections against evictions as we face another public health crisis,” Chu said.

Chu issued the state’s first deportation protection order on March 13, 2020, according to the county, before the Texas Supreme Court acted nearly a week later.

“A lot of times we hear about JP courts, we think about small claims courts or things like that, but really, with JP courts especially during this pandemic, it has kind of highlighted the importance of our being. local justice system and their involvement in trying to prevent this pandemic from getting worse than it already is, ”Chu said.

If you are at risk of eviction, Chu recommends contacting volunteer legal services or other legal service providers for help.

Below are links to rental assistance programs in the region and state.

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