Legal Services of Central New York

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Some of the biggest public construction projects in Central New York are doing the least to help Syracuse’s minority population get jobs and reduce local poverty.  An analysis by two local groups found the workforces don’t mirror the racial makeup of the city or the county.  WAER’s Chris Bolt reports how public investments in progress could pay more dividends.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Eviction, poverty, and housing instability are some of the biggest challenges facing Syracuse residents, and Pulitzer Prize winning author Matthew Desmond will be in Syracuse Tuesday evening to put it all in perspective.  He wrote the book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” that puts a microscope on poverty and eviction in America.  

For those struggling with poverty entering into a legal dispute is not only a challenge but it could also become nearly impossible. Ranging from evictions, divorce, and court hearings without the means to acquire legal assistance some are left to fend for themselves and they might not be equipped to do so adequately. 

Recently WAER held a City Limits Talk round table discussion centered around the topic of legal assistance and how it is impacting poverty in Syracuse. The discussion was moderated by WAER's News Director Chris Bolt.

The City Limits Talk panel included-

Scott Willis / WAER News

The treatment of juveniles at the Onondaga County Justice Center is about to change after a settlement that ends the routine practice of placing 16 and 17 year-olds in solitary confinement for weeks and even months at a time.  The agreement comes nine months after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the teens.

The suit was brought by Legal services of Central New York and the New York Civil Liberties Union.  LSCNY  staff attorney Josh Cotter says they wanted to show that jail deputies shouldn’t be treating juveniles the same as adults…

Agencies in Syracuse that provide services to vulnerable residents are finding that they, themselves, might be vulnerable to severe cuts in funding under President Trump’s budget blueprint.  It appears to be the latest dip on the roller coaster of federal support.

Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Syracuse Mason Kaufman knows the massive increase in military spending has to come from somewhere, but the questions is where.

"Why Meals on Wheels programs, who have been struggling with funding provided by the government over the past decade."

Scott Willis / WAER News

An attorney with Legal Services of Central New York says the Onondaga County Justice Center continues to place 16 and 17-year olds in solitary confinement three months after they filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the practice.  So, legal services staff attorney and case co-lead counsel Josh Cotter says they’ve requested an expedited order in district court to stop the justice center from isolating teens.

Immigrant students can now attend high school in Utica after a settlement agreement was reached with the district.  The suit Tuyizere vs. Utica was filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and Legal Services of Central New York last April on behalf of six students who were repeatedly denied enrollment in Proctor high school after months of letters, phone calls, and threats of litigation.  Legal Services staff attorney Susan Young says the students had been placed in alternative programs in violation of state law that guarantees a free public education to anyone under 21.

  New Yorkers with H-I-V or AIDS that risk becoming homeless might be able to get legal help from organizations around the state. In New York, over 100-thousand people with H-I-V were living in poverty-stricken environments at the end of 2013. New York State is making a $2.5-million effort to grant legal services to individuals and families affected by H-I-V/AIDS.