LegalHealth COVID-19 Response Project
December 10, 2020
The global coronavirus has brought uncertainty and anxiety into people’s lives, workplaces, and neighborhoods, particularly for those who work to improve the health of our communities.
During this difficult time, many organizations across New York State are working tirelessly to keep people safe, especially the most vulnerable. In response, NYHealth is supporting statewide and local efforts to address emerging health care and public health needs in the wake of the pandemic. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) a grant to provide remote legal assistance to low-income New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this grant, NYLAG’s LegalHealth division addressed the legal needs of New Yorkers struggling with housing security and family law issues who were referred by hospitals for assistance. Despite a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic, many families experienced an increased threat to housing security and faced harassment and threats of eviction because of their inability to pay rent. LegalHealth attorneys provided free telelegal services to clients, ranging from advice and counsel to full representation, as needed. LegalHealth also hired an additional family law attorney to expand its program and establish a guardianship practice to represent children who have lost their parents and whose proposed caregivers could not make health, education, and other decisions without such legal status. LegalHealth strengthened coordination with hospitals and better streamline the process for sharing client information between health care staff and attorneys.