Helping low-income individuals, families and communities attain economic security is at the heart of much of NLSLA’s work. Our advocates work to mitigate the effects of poverty and create opportunities for individuals and families to attain financial stability. We work with clients to remove barriers to education and employment, protect and resolve family relationships, and ensure access to safety-net public benefits.
Ensuring fair public benefit programs
Neighborhood Legal Services addresses individual and systemic problems with government safety net subsistence and social services programs. Families and individuals who qualify for programs such as CalWORKs, General Relief, CalFresh and Supplemental Security Income are often wrongfully denied benefits or have trouble receiving them. We work to eliminate these obstacles and alter the policies and practices that created them.
Securing and protecting jobs
Neighborhood Legal Services advocates for low-wage workers, ensuring access to safe jobs free from exploitation. Our attorneys represent workers seeking unemployment insurance benefits, unpaid wages, wage and overtime violations, and denials of meal and rest breaks. We also help workers expunge old criminal records which often date back decades and stand in the way of a job, occupational license or certificate that could help move a family toward economic stability.
Enforcing debtors’ rights in difficult economic times
Neighborhood Legal Services helps individuals and families facing economic challenges receive the full protection of the law. NLSLA advocates protect the rights of individuals facing debt-related issues at all stages of the process, from pre-litigation assistance for individuals facing harassment to post-judgment help with obtaining “claims of exemption.” Attorneys provide a range of services, from advice and counsel to individual representation and litigation.
Assisting unrepresented people with bankruptcy
NLSLA provides thousands of unrepresented debtors the information and tools they need to file for bankruptcy and obtain a financial “fresh start.” Neighborhood Legal Services operates the Bankruptcy Self Help Desk at the San Fernando Valley U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse in Woodland Hills. The Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles leads the nation in pro se or unrepresented filings. The NLSLA Bankruptcy Self Help Desk, open since 2007, was the first onsite self-help desk of the Central District of California. Both debtors and creditors can get free legal information on bankruptcy, obtain necessary forms, and attend a weekly Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Seminar and “Question and Answer” session.