The State Department of Aging, the State Office of Court Administration and the New York State Bar Association are teaming up to help senior citizens and state residents with disabilities afford legal services.
The Legal Service's Initiative was announced Sept. 12 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the partnership builds on the state's efforts to provide disabled New Yorker's with "the same avenues of justice" available to others. The group was facilitated by Robert Abrams, a long-time practitioner and advocate in the field of elder law.
The collaboration will develop a strategy using existing resources, including pro bono programs, to target the needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities. The plan also calls for a "think group" of attorneys, judges, health care professionals and experts on aging and disabilities. An interactive Web site is expected to be launched to help raise awareness, provide education, and increase accessibility to low-cost legal services.
"The legal services needs of the elderly, those with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations continue to grow as we grapple with the persistent effects of the economic downturn. Having access to adequate, affordable civil legal services is so crucial in achieving just outcomes, often making the difference between having shelter and becoming homeless, and securing or losing access to health care and other basic needs," said New York State Chief Administrative Judge Gail Prudenti.